World War II vet, 101, walks at graduation 80 years after missing ceremony to join Army

The veteran was in basic training during his original graduation ceremony in 1943.

Published: May 24, 2023 9:41am

Updated: May 24, 2023 12:28pm

A 101-year-old World War II veteran walked in a college graduation ceremony after he was forced to miss the milestone 80 years ago when his Army Air Corp Reserve unit was activated. 

"I have no regrets about going into the service," Fred Taylor said, Fox News Digital reported Wednesday. "I really enjoyed flying. My only regret is missing my graduation ceremony, as you normally would end your senior year."

Taylor received his diploma with more than 200 Cornell College graduates in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in a ceremony on May 14. He had finished the requirements for a music degree at the college but signed up for the reserve after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. 

"On Feb. 19, 1943, of my senior year, the Air Corp Reserves were activated and we had to leave the college for basic training in Jefferson Barracks in Missouri. So, of course, we missed our graduation ceremony and that was a very incomplete feeling," Taylor said. His father drove to campus at the time to pick up his son's diploma while he was in basic training, Taylor also said.

"Every time I mentioned his name — standing ovation," Cornell College President Jonathan Brand said. "It was heartwarming. It was emotional. It brought full circle his own connection with Cornell. ... He's gracious, humble, articulate, warm, loving. He is everything that one could ever hope a Cornellian would be."

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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