LANDSFORD -- A World War II veteran received an honor he's wanted for more than 70 years: a high school diploma.
William Tini left high school in 1942 to join the Army and never had the chance to graduate.
"We're proud to present you with a diploma from the Panther Valley High School."
For William Tini, 89, this is a moment in his life he only dreamed about, getting his high school diploma.
The WWII veteran received that honor at the Panther Valley school board meeting.
"We thank you for your service."
"I thank you too for bringing me out to this point," Tini said while receiving his diploma.
"I never thought I'd come to this point. I think they did a world of good bringing me here," he added. "It's really a great feeling that people care, people must care."
Tini left the then Coaldale High School in 1942 and was sent to serve in WWII a year later at the age of 17.
He spent four years in the service and never got the opportunity to graduate with his classmates.
Now through a federal program called "Operation Recognition," he has an official diploma to take home.
"He has always felt that he missed something from not having a diploma," said Pearl Tini-Cwiertnie, William's daughter.
Tini cried, "I feel elated, the best I've felt in a long time."
Some junior ROTC cadets brought in for a color guard salute and they say they are proud to be a part of something so important.
"This is the biggest honor that we've ever given. We've been to football games doing color guard. We've honored Command Sergeant Major Dailey, but this experience triumphs all of those," said Noah Easterly, junior ROTC.
While he was overcome with emotions, Tini still made time to get a little cheeky doing photos. "Oh, if I was younger," he jokes with an ROTC member.
"He's hitting on you! Oh, my goodness!"
The new high school grad will have even more to celebrate later this year. He turns 90 years old in August.