HIGHLAND HOME, AL (KTRK) -- A man who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and liberated concentration camp victims realized a lifelong dream this week. J.D. Sexton graduated from high school at the age of 93.
Sexton was a student at Highland Home High School in Alabama when he was drafted in 1943, WFSA-TV reports. He served in World War II and went on to a long career in the army. He retired in 1982 with the rank of Master Sergeant.
Sexton received a GED decades ago, but he always regretted not walking across the stage at Highland Home. In 2014, the Alabama legislature passed a law awarding high school diplomas to qualifying veterans who left school to join the military. Sexton's wife secretly arranged for him to take part in graduation ceremonies this year.
"It's a wonderful thing to come up here and be with the people and to receive a diploma for high school education," Sexton said.
He did give his fellow graduates some advice from the stage.
"Go forth in life, and put forth all the effort you have," Sexton said.
School leaders say Sexton sets a wonderful example for graduates.
"It sends a huge message to our young people today for them to value that high school diploma to value what it means," Supervisor of the Crenshaw County Board of Education, Sherry Sport, told WSFA-TV.
93-year-old Army veteran finally gets his high school diploma