World War II veteran gets high school diploma - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

World War II veteran gets high school diploma

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Talma Sadler accepts his long-overdue diploma at Durant High School. (KTEN) Talma Sadler accepts his long-overdue diploma at Durant High School. (KTEN)
WWII veteran Talma Sadler received his 1943 diploma Thursday evening at Durant High School.  (KTEN) WWII veteran Talma Sadler received his 1943 diploma Thursday evening at Durant High School. (KTEN)
Talma Sadler accepts congratulations after being awarded a diploma at Durant High School. (KTEN) Talma Sadler accepts congratulations after being awarded a diploma at Durant High School. (KTEN)

DURANT, Okla. -- Talma Sadler, a 91-year-old World War II veteran, has received a priceless item he's waited nearly a lifetime for.

His high school diploma.

"It's a thrill to get that diploma, I've always wanted it," he said. "Life is complicated."

Sadler joined the Army at 16, lying about his age so he could enlist early.

"I told them I was 18, so I worked a little bit and then they drafted me," he said.

Sadler went on to serve his country, but never completed his education at Magnum High School. But thanks to his friend Don "Pappy" Papin and Durant High School, Sadler is no longer just a soldier; he's now a graduate.

"This is a big deal for Durant, a big deal for our Post, it's a big deal for Tom," said Papin, the commander of the local Disabled American Veterans post. "This is helping our brother live a dream that he had." 

This is actually part of a state program through the Oklahoma Board of Education to give diplomas to veterans who served in World War II, the Korean conflict, or in Vietnam.   

Sadler's attendance was an inspiration for many graduating seniors, including Cade Ogden, who is leaving for the Naval Academy next month.

"Him to go and lie about his age like that just so he can go and serve his county? And now Oklahoma's honoring him as 92 years old and getting his diploma? That's just crazy right there," Ogden said. 

With Sadler's blue cap and gown, and a smile that can light up a room, he said receiving his diploma is a moment he'll never forget.

To nominate a veteran to receive a diploma, visit the Oklahoma Veterans' High School Diploma Program website.

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