I came across a touching article this morning in the newspaper. I’m visiting relatives in Baltimore this week and found this article.
It’s about Richard Zepp, an 87-year-old World War II veteran who received his high school diploma last week – seven decades after he dropped out of high school.
In 1942, Zepp dropped out of high school to devote his time to the family farm after his father passed away. Two years later, he joined the Navy to support his mother and younger brother.
Speaking of his time in the Navy, Zepp simply reports that he did his job: “I did my part, that’s all.”
After the war, Zepp settled down as a carpenter and started a family. His son eventually joined the Navy, and this year his grandson is following in their footsteps and joining the fleet as well.
Zepp came to receive his high school diploma when his son, also named Richard and a school board member, heard of another school district awarding a World War II veteran with his diploma. He proposed the idea to his father as a way to honor him and the sacrifice he made. For if he hadn’t dropped out of high school, he could not have supported his widow mother and younger brother, and could not have fought for his country.
Zepp’s son, speaking of his father’s high school diploma, said “This is really huge for our family.”
It never ceases to amaze me the power of a diplomas. It’s never too late to receive your high school diploma.