Greenville – A World War II veteran in Michigan has finally received his high school diploma with the help of his family and the school district more than 70 years later.

Ralph Taylor received his Greenville High School diploma on Monday at 90 years old. He graduated from the high school in 1945, but he was called to serve in the U.S. Navy two days before his commencement ceremony.

Taylor went on to grow a family of four children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. But the veteran said he felt he still missed something by not being able to walk across his high school’s stage to accept his diploma.

“It’s 73 years without a diploma. … You miss it,” Taylor told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “You go to school all those years and you want your diploma.”

His family recently took up the effort to return Taylor’s diploma, which was presented to him at a school board meeting attended by about two dozen friends and family.

“I didn’t know that all my kids and grandkids and everybody else would be there,” Taylor said. “It was exciting.”

He said receiving the diploma in the company of his family was one of the best moments in his life.

“It feels wonderful,” Taylor told WZZM 13. “It feels complete.”

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