NEEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A World War II veteran was awarded a diploma from Needham High School on Wednesday, 75 years after he left the Bay State to fight for his country.

Louis Picariello, who had been set to graduate in 1944, left for war before he was able to obtain his diploma.

School officials celebrated Picariello’s service at a special ceremony and presented him with his long-awaited diploma on the eve of Veterans Day.

“I can’t explain it. There’s no words here,” Picariello said. “I can’t believe this. Everybody went out of their way and I appreciate it.”

Friends, family, and fellow service members were on hand to take in the ceremony.

Picariello even took time to share some life advice with current students.

Louis’ son and fellow Needham High School graduate, Michael Picariello , says it was surreal to witness this moment after so many years.

“It’s been a bucket list item, most recently in the last few years,” Michael said.

Picarriello added that he plans to frame the diploma so he can see it everyday.

“Will it get me into some college now?” Picariello joked.

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