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World War II veteran receives high school diploma 72 years after graduation

WSBT 22

1945 was a historic year for America.

It was the year many students graduated Elkhart Community Schools. But one boy in their yearbook never got to experience his senior year.

Instead, he experienced history itself. 90-year-old Charles Weber enlisted to serve in World War II.

Now, 72-years-later he is finally getting that high school degree.

"Charles Weber his junior year, left Elkhart Community Schools to join the Navy during the height of World War II," said Michael Weber, Charles’ oldest son.

Charles finally received his diploma Friday.

"I didn't have any idea that anything like this was going to happen. It really surprises me,” Charles said.

His family planned the entire thing.

"I’ve always felt that he had a feeling deep down inside that he had missed out on something that high school experience, the graduation, the pomp and circumstance,” said Weber.

"What I missed out on was having the rest of my junior year and the senior year with so many people that I went to school with," said Charles.

But Weber says he had a greater calling than completing high school.

"I felt that my country needed me and I did what I had to do, do whatever I could,” he said.

Now, friends and family want to do whatever they can to give back what he gave up. That means not only his diploma but a cap and gown, too.

For people in the community, Weber is a national hero. But he says he's no more than a boy from Elkhart.

"I don't feel like I deserve it, you know there's so many other people that did so much more and so many of them didn't get home they're the ones that really deserve it,” Charles said.

Weber's family flew in from Texas to see him receive his diploma.

He told me now that he has finally received it he's not ever letting it out of his sight.

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