California resident Fred Taylor was set to receive his college degree in 1943 but was drafted for World War II.
Now, 80 years later, the World War II veteran who served with the Army Air Corps Reserve finally got to cross the stage with other graduates, thanks to his daughter Linda Taylor.
“Linda mentioned this idea a long time ago,” Fred Taylor said, according to a Cornell College news post. “But it was a big surprise to me that she had gone ahead and made the arrangements to do it. So, of course, I’m surprised and excited about it.”
During an interview with Cornell College, Taylor recalled the moment his life would change forever.
“Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, I and a number of my friends at Cornell joined the Army Air Corps Reserve because we’d rather be in the Air Corps than a foot soldier. The Army Reserves, then, were activated in February of my senior year. On Feb. 19, 1943, we had to leave and went to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri for basic training,” he said to the outlet.
101-year-old veteran Fred Taylor finally got to walk across the stage at Cornell College's graduation on Sunday.
The Iowa native missed his ceremony while serving in World War II, but the college gave him another chance to participate 80 years later. pic.twitter.com/DlsF8YXYFG
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 19, 2023
While he finished his degree in music, he received his master’s degree in music education from Drake University. He proceeded to be a music teacher, first in Iowa and now in California, where he currently resides. For Taylor, finally, raking the stage solidifies his hard work.
“Well, it really ties the ribbon on. It makes me feel like now it’s complete,” he told KCRG, an ABC news affiliate.