11/30/2012 11:04 am ET

Stanley Snyder, 91-Year-Old WWII Veteran, Receives High School Diploma (VIDEO)

A World War II veteran living in Lancaster, Penn., finally received his high school diploma on Tuesday -- 73 years after he left school.

Ninety-one-year-old Stanley Snyder was awarded the diploma by the Lancaster city council -- thanks to a district policy that allows veterans who were unable to complete their education because of their service in World War II to receive diplomas, reported Lancaster Online.

According to WGAL News, Snyder's father became very ill in 1941. He was forced to leave high school in the ninth grade to take care of his family.

"I really wanted to graduate with the class that I went to school with for all those years, and I didn't get that chance," Snyder told Lancaster Online.

"I wish my parents would have let me stay in school, but they needed my help," he added.

He later joined the army during WWII. He operated a machine gun on an American tank and was one of the brave men who stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-day, June 6, 1944, reported WGAL.

Snyder won a total of nine medals during his five years in combat service.

According to WGAL, when the war was over, Snyder returned to a quiet life as a welder and later as a part of the Millersville University police force.

His family -- including his wife of 67 years, Mary -- joined him on Tuesday night to celebrate the belated right of passage.

"I never expected it," said Snyder to Lancaster Online.

"Thank you for your service to our country," Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray said to Snyder. "Thank you for the example you set .... Never stop learning."



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