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Korean War Vet Graduates With Granddaughter in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 58 years after leaving high school to enlist in the Army, Don Lee finally accepted his high school diploma, taking part in graduation ceremonies with his granddaughter Courtney Jones and the Class of 2011.

Lee, 75, received an honorary diploma Thursday during Fletcher High School’s graduation at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Back in 1953, Lee left his Texas high school during his junior year to join the Army. He served in the Korean conflict and spent 20 years in the military before he retired.

A law enacted in 2002 made it possible for World War II and Korean conflict veterans who enlisted in the military before graduating to receive an honorary diploma.

Lee learned about the law in 2006, just before the graduation of his grandson and great-grandson. Lee, who only has one lung and one kidney, told his granddaughter he would like to receive his diploma when she graduated in 2011 — if he lived that long.

On Thursday, Lee took his place alongside the Class of 2011.

Duval County School Board member Fred Lee offered the diploma on behalf of the citizens of Florida. “I’m proud to give you, a veteran of the Korean conflict, this diploma.

The audience stood and applauded.

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