Nearly two dozen veterans who gave up their education to serve their country were honored with their high school diplomas in a ceremony held just prior to Veterans Day.
Jerry Martin, who served in the Vietnam War, was one of the 22 veterans who crossed the stage to receive their high school diplomas.
Martin was accompanied by his service dog, Samson, who helps him cope with PTSD.
"[Not receiving my high school diploma] was like a missing piece to a puzzle that I always had to work around my entire life, even though I got a GED in the military. I didn't get the recognition there either," Martin said in an interview with the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, who hosted the event in conjunction with Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project. "It was like one disappointment from the high school, and a second disappointment from the military."
Veterans who once served in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War and missed out on receiving their high school diploma are eligible to participate in the Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project, according to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.
"I think what this program emulates is a very important piece of what everyone should have," Martin said.
92-year-old Duel Calvert, a veteran of World War II, received his diploma at the event 75 years after missing his senior year of high school to join the U.S. Air Force.
Calvert said in an interview with WBMA that he never expected to receive his diploma.
"I never thought I'd get those medals either. It took me 40 years to get them," he joked.