TULSA – A World War II veteran was given the opportunity to further his education just hours before Veterans Day this week.
After waiting for nearly 73 years, Bud Stinebuck dressed up in a graduation cap and gown to receive his high school diploma.
In 1943 when Stinebuck was just 18 years old, his number was drawn revealing that Uncle Sam was calling him to serve his country.
“I was just left out of school and that was it.”
He left everything behind: his family and the love of his life.
World War II was almost over, but not without the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. U.S. troops were on the offensive.
“That was the sickest day of my life when I went underneath that Golden Gate Bridge, and I knew we was [sic] gone for good.”
He received his high school diploma in typical graduation fashion at 90 years old, amid a standing ovation. Taps fill the auditorium as he was honored for his service but to Bud Stinebeck, the honor was all his to give.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see this.”
Stinebeck sits in his living room, surrounded by the people who love him. His cap and gown, along with his diploma were mementos of this special day.
But there was just one thing missing: his wife of 70 years, who passed away last year.
“That’s the only drawback, I was hoping she’d be here but she isn’t.”
Bud says his wife Reba meant the world to him and he knows that she’s looking down at him, always proud, especially this week.