Army Veteran Wipes Tears While Receiving High School Diploma After Nearly 5 Decades


An Army veteran from Texas smiled through tears as he held up his high school diploma during a graduation ceremony in June. It was a milestone nearly five decades in the making.

In 1971, Roberto Garza dropped out of high school to join the Army. He’d wanted to serve his country, putting his education on the back burner.

When his military service ended, Garza’s thoughts traveled back to his old high school. He wanted to complete some unfinished business, but didn’t think he could go back to high school because of his age.

One night, 65-year-old Garza told his son how much he wanted to earn his diploma.

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His son did some research, and learned that his father was eligible to return to high school since he dropped out to serve his country during a time of war.

So Garza went back to his former high school to finish what he’d started 47 years ago.

The day came for Garza to don a red cap and gown and sit among hundreds of teenage students graduating with the class of 2018.

“Everybody here gets to see their kids,” said Garza’s proud son. “I get to see my Dad. It’s just awesome.”

Garza had 40 family members in the stands, cheering and applauding when his name was read. The poignant moment left Garza’s son bursting with pride.

“He helped me with everything,” Garza’s son said of his father. “Now to see him go through this — it’s just amazing.”


Sweet satisfaction crossed Garza’s face as he walked in front of the crowd and accepted his diploma. It was a dream come true — a chapter in his life he could finally close.

The excitement of the day was also laced with a bittersweet longing for the people Garza wished could have seen him graduate. “I wish my Dad was here,” Garza said softly.

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But Garza’s future plans include a pursuit that would make his father proud. He plans to study law and become a Texas Peace Officer, something his dad would have loved to see.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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