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Korean War Veteran Earns High School Diploma 67 Years Later

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A Korean War veteran earned his high school diploma 67 years later on Friday during a Veterans Day ceremony in Indiana.

“This is something I never expected to get,” Bill Grimes Jr. said according to the Richmond-Palladium Item Friday.

Grimes’ diploma indicates he is part of the Class of 1951, according to the Item. He left Richmond High School in Richmond, Indiana, when he was a junior to join the Navy.

Grimes felt like school was not for him, according to The Associated Press.

“The day my dad signed the papers to get me in the Navy was the same day that North Korea invaded South Korea,” he said. “I was no longer in the peace-time Navy.”

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Grimes had never seen or ridden a plane until he enrolled in the military, according to the Item. He served as an aircraft mechanic for close to four years and went from apprentice to airman to third-class petty officer.

“I always considered the Navy as a privilege,” Grimes said. “Most people think of it — military service — as a duty, but the Navy gave me a lot. I had the opportunity to meet with people that I had never imagined I would meet. I had the opportunity to go places I had never thought I would go.”

Grimes had five children after leaving the Navy. He was encouraged to finish high school from his daughter Kathy Dudas.

Indiana law allows World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam War veterans to earn high school diplomas if they meet the following requirements:

— Attended public or nonpublic high school in Indiana prior to military service

— Been a student in good standing

— Not graduated or received a diploma because of leaving high school for military service

— And been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States

“This diploma today, that’s the top for me, but all my life, I have tried to be honest, to be loyal, to be faithful to what I believed in, and I think that’s important for anyone,” Grimes said, according to the Item. “If you live by that standard, you can’t go wrong.”

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