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94-year-old World War II veteran gets high school diploma in Chicago

By Ben Hooper

June 14 (UPI) -- A 94-year-old Chicago man who missed his high school graduation due to World War II walked across the stage at his old school to accept his diploma 76 years later.

William C. Wagner, 76, said he missed his graduation at Tilden High School in 1944 when he left to serve in the war, but his son, Forrest Wagner, secretly arranged for a diploma to be issued for his father in time for his birthday in March.

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"I was in my last half of my senior year," Wagner told WLS-TV. "They told me to take history and civics to get my diploma. I went to draft board and they said, 'Punk you got a number, you got to go.'"

Wagner walked across the stage Thursday with the Tilden High School class of 2019.

"Seventy-six years, yup. It took me that long to get my diploma," Wagner said. "Instead of going through four years."

Wagner isn't the oldest person to be awarded a high school diploma -- Fred Butler, 106, was awarded a diploma from Beverly High School in Massachusetts in 2013, nearly a century after he dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support his family.

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