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Abilene veteran receives high school diploma more than 50 years later

ABILENE, Texas - As one veteran found out Tuesday at Johnston Elementary School, it’s never too late to achieve your dream.

Sgt. Robert Terry was in the audience during a Veterans Day assembly at the school. At 17, Terry quit school to join the Air Force. He served three years at Dyess Air Force Base and one year in Vietnam.

“It was under the conditions from my mother that I would get my high school diploma,” Terry said.

Terry did get his GED and was given a certificate, but he always wanted that diploma.

At 72, he finally got it from Abilene High School Tuesday.

“To come out of this room today and to see the recognition that they gave to me was just one of the greatest days of my life,” Terry said.

Several members of Terry’s family were there for the occasion.

“I know my mom's looking down so I can show her this diploma,” Terry said.

One of Terry’s daughters was there, who’s also an Abilene High grad.

“[He’s] more supportive and giving than anyone I know,” said Kathy Ingraham. “So it was such a gift for him to get something back today. That meant so much to him.”

After waiting for 54 years, where will he display his diploma?

“I haven't got a place yet,” Terry said. “I’ll probably sleep with it for a few weeks and then will find a proper place for it. It means everything in the world. Maybe I can set an example for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren.”

Terry said that's another reason he wanted that diploma so badly -- to show his grandchildren and great grandchildren the importance of a good education.


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