After 70 years, World War II veteran enjoys walk of graduation

Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 04:58 PM.

It was a walk 70 years in the making, so Alvia Hearren didn’t mind taking his time with it.

Hearren received his diploma during graduation Friday at Benton Harbor High School in Michigan.

The World War II veteran was supposed to graduate with his class on June 9, 1943. But Hearren felt a higher calling.

He joined the Marine Corps in December of 1942, feeling an obligation to do what he could for the country during World War II. Though he completed the courses required to graduate with his class, military duty kept him from being able to attend commencement.

On what was supposed to be his graduation day, Hearren was well on his way to becoming an aircraft mechanic at Cherry Point. Eventually, he shipped out to serve in the South Pacific at the tail end of the war.

Though his parents later received his high school diploma in the mail, he never felt the thrill of walking across the stage and being handed his diploma — until Friday night.

"It was a wonderful thing," Hearren said. "There were some friends of mine there, and I had my children there. They had my name put out there in the yard as a graduate."

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