There aren't many World War II veterans still around—just a few hundred thousand out of many millions—but the ones still here are still giving us reasons to be impressed:
Just a few weeks before he could graduate from high school in 1943, Donald Huisenga was drafted into the U.S. Army to fight in World War II.
Almost 79 years later, the 98-year-old from San Angelo, Texas, was finally able to get his high school diploma earlier this month.
Here's some footage of the happy occasion:
The logistical process of getting Huisenga a diploma is in and of itself heartwarming: His high school closed down decades ago, but the mayor of his hometown, along with the local school board, officially voted to make him a member of the class of 1943.
The high school memorabilia company Jostens, meanwhile, custom-printed a single diploma just for the veteran.
Even among the legendary ranks of World War II vets, Huisenga's story is impressive:
"I didn't like the captain and I didn't like the lieutenant that was there," Huisenga said. "They wanted me to take a bunch of greenies out behind the lines and show them what was going on. I said, 'You can stand here and look and you can see all you want. You don't have to send them back there.' And I took them anyway. Well, that's when I got hit. There was shrapnel and artillery. I don't know where it's mine or theirs."
Afterwards, he found himself locked in a German military prison.
"When I went in I was 175 pounds. When I got out I was 100 pounds and we didn't have anything to eat," Huisenga said.
He spent eight months working in the prison camp, until he and the other prisoners were discovered [by] Gen. George S. Patton and his troops.
"I had never been so happy to see anyone in my life," he said.
We bet! God bless you and thank you for your service, Mr. Huisenga.
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