Edward Sanders dropped out of high school as a junior in 1952 to join the U.S. Air Force and fight in the Korean War. Over six decades later, he received his high school diploma!
By the time he was 15, Ed was interested in flying planes. He had actually hoped to become a fighter pilot, but the need for bomber pilots was greater at the time, so that’s what he was assigned to do. “Next thing I knew I was in Korea, wishing I was back in Jackson, [Michigan],” he said.
He served for four years and was stationed all around the world. When he completed his time, he left flying to work at various organizations before he later retired from a tool company.
After so much time without a diploma, some people would just forget about the piece of paper, but Ed never stopped dreaming about it.
That’s why he was so thrilled when he discovered a Michigan law that allows schools to award diplomas to students who dropped out to serve in the military! He went through the process and was granted his diploma — along with his very own cap and gown!
Best of all, he wasn’t alone on graduation day! While his service may have cut his high school career short, it didn’t stop him from stealing a fellow student’s heart. He asked a classmate named Patricia if she would wait for him until he came home. She said yes, and the two of them eventually got married!
They went on to have three kids, who have given them five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Among their growing family tree is a great-great niece named Alex Bissell, who just so happened to be a senior at Jackson High School, the same school Ed dropped out of, this year.
As if finally getting his diploma wasn’t wonderful enough, Ed got to do it with a loved one!
Thank you, Ed, for reminding us that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams! Congratulations on the diploma!
Learn more about Ed in the video below, and share this story to encourage your friends.
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