74 years later, WWII Veteran receives diploma

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MONTROSE, Mich. (WJRT) - (06/02/17) - "They must've done a little sneaky work on me to get all this information," Robert Byers said.

The 92-year-old went from confused to delighted as he heard the Montrose High school Principal call his name at graduation Friday night.

"I thought it was for my granddaughter getting an award," Byers laughed.

But instead, surrounded by his four children, the World War II veteran finally took his walk across the stage and received his high school diploma.

"He's very, very humble and if I would've told him we were doing this I couldn't have gotten him on stage," explained Byer's son Jeffery.

He says that's why it had to be a surprise. Jeffery helped organize the honor, ordering a diploma from his high school in New York.

"My dad had always talked about never graduating from high school and how he went and left for war and he never knew if he had enough credits to graduate," Jeffery added.

Byers joined the Navy after finishing his junior year, at just 17-years-old. He didn't want to be a part of the draft, Byers says he wanted to join his brother and two uncles in the fight. He spent the next four years aboard the USS Miami.

"It was worth it. I didn't regret it," Byers said.

But Jeffery tells us not graduating was always on his father's mind.

"I did really good, you know, in life, never graduating from high school, that's what he always says. Now he can't say that. He has to say I graduated from high school and I done good!" Jeffrey smiled.

It's the high school his children and grandchildren all received their diplomas from as well.

When asking him about his ceremonial walk, Byers said, "Oh I don't know. Hard to explain that anybody took the time to do what they did. After all these years, a lot of years."

A well-deserved honor.

Byers family tells us they have a big graduation party planned for him on Saturday.

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