85-year-old man finally gets graduation ceremony

June 25, 2013 8:01:11 PM PDT
George Whalen would be the first to walk out onto Academy Field for his graduation ceremony. He's been waiting decades for this moment.

George Whalen graduated from Newburgh Free Academy in 1945 and he still remembers the words to his alma mater's song.

"Something about the river," Whalen said.

Well almost all of the words, cut him some slack it's been 68 years since he graduated.

You see the 85-year-old World War II veteran never got the chance to walk in the ceremony. You see, he was serving our country.

"I was in the naval station and I remember they we're having the graduation and I wasn't there. But it worked out good," Whalen said.

Mr. Whalen's family and school administrators arranged for him to walk with more than 600 members of the class of 2013 Tuesday night.

His granddaughter Emily was also in line for her diploma and she graduated with honors!

It was a long journey for a man who spent his life encouraging his 10 children, and dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren about the importance of an education.

It was a moment well deserved and long overdue.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Seaman Second Class Mr. George Whalen World War II veteran and member of the NFA Class of 1945!"