SAUGUS, MASS. (WHDH) - Seventy-five years after storming the beaches of Normandy, Pete Decareau finally received his high school diploma.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor inspired Decareau to drop out of Saugus High School and enlist in the Navy when he was 17.
On May 31, the 95-year-old veteran received a standing ovation when he accepted the honorary diploma during the school’s graduation ceremony.
“It was very nice. I appreciated it very much,” said Decareau, who was surprised by the school district’s invitation.
The WWII veteran, who lives in Burlington, was not able to travel overseas to France and participate in the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ invasion. But he remembers the fateful day.
“It was pretty sad out there. I wouldn’t want to see it again,” Decareau said.
He and his family say they are grateful for the school district recognizing the sacrifices made by so many during World War II.
“It was amazing. They should do something for all the veterans, especially the World War II veterans,” said Pete Decareau Jr. “There are not many left.”
Decareau also served during operations in Sicily, Africa, and Okinawa.
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