James Yarbrough, during a Veterans Day ceremony, was left in tears fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“I never expected it to happen,” Yarbrough said at Washington-Henry Elementary School in Mechanicsville, as WRIC reported. “I should’ve pursued before now, I guess.”
Yarbrough, who attended the former Washington-Henry High School, entered into military service with the U.S. Army in 1943, during his senior year in high school, and before he was able to graduate, as The Associated Press reported.
The state’s Veterans Honorary High School Diploma program has recognized the life experiences of honorably discharged veterans who were unable to complete their high school education because of service in the armed forces during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
“Just being here with the veterans and the kids. It was quite an honor,” the 93-year-old veteran added about receiving his honorary high school diploma. “I never expected such an occasion.”
It was just as touching for the kids as it was for Yarbrough.
“If we did not have veterans our country would be unprotected,” one student said, as WWBT reported.
“Thank you for risking your lives for us,” another student added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.