Everyday Heroes

95-Year-Old WWII Veteran Gets High School Diploma

After 76 years, he finally received the honor he always wanted.


Cpl. Lewie Shaw has lived an interesting life. He became an orphan when he was only 12 years old, and while he did go to high school for a few years, he dropped out when he was 17 and started working as a school bus driver and janitor.

"I was a little hard-headed," Shaw told KJRH2-TV. "Algebra was my pitfall at school. I refused to try to learn algebra."

Shaw enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 and served in the battles of Tinian, Spain and Iwo Jima. He was injured when he was struck in the back by a grenade.

"One come out with a phosphorus grenade got me across the backside," Shaw "And I didn't want to tell anybody. A good Marine doesn't get shot in the back."

After the war, Shaw returned home and married the love of his life, Alice. He worked for a lumber company for 30 years and then went into business with his son. One thing that kept coming back to him was his desire to finish his education. Despite never finishing high school, he always encouraged his children and grandchildren to do well in school.

(Source: @amyjenson3 )

"I've lived a dull life, worked hard, had a wonderful marriage of 65 years," Shaw said. "My advice is to keep clawing, keep digging, get that education."

Last week, Shaw got his dream and accepted a diploma at Claremore High School. Shaw didn't attend Claremore, but since his original high school no longer exists, Claremore HS stepped up to present him with the honor.

On Thursday, at 95-years-old, Cpl. Shaw wore a red cap and gown over his military uniform (yes, it still fits like a glove!) and finally received his high school diploma. The service was held in the school's gymnasium where the Claremont Band and Choir performed a few patriotic songs and students gathered to pay their respects.

(Source: KJRH-TV )

Claremore NJROTC Commanding Officer Katrina Sherrick was in attendance, along with Coommander Murry Estabrook.

"Mr. Shaw, All of Claremore High School is here today to participate in your Claremore High School graduation," Sherrick said. "Today we add to that great uniform you so proudly wear, by presenting you the graduation cap and gown you sacrificed 76 years ago to answer the call of duty to defend our nation."

The school's principal, Kerri Garroutte, presented Shaw with his diploma to the sound of thunderous applause.

(Source: KJRH-TV )

Students, faculty and other service members congratulated Shaw after the ceremony, including the school's superintendent, Bryan Frazier. Frazier's father had also decided to go into the military instead of finishing high school.

"I think it's important that our students understand that freedom doesn't come free, and the sacrifices they made are real." - Brian Frazier

"This is a great opportunity for us and our students to experience the greatest generation of all time, and they are leaving us pretty quickly," Frazier said.

Congratulations to Cpl. Shaw, who showed that it's never too late to reach your goals.

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