Days Away From 98th Birthday, WWII Vet Gets High School Diploma
It doesn't matter how old you are, you are always capable of setting goals and dreams to accomplish for yourself. Just ask 97-year-old Harold Williams from Valatie, in Columbia County, New York.
When Williams was in 8th grade, he had to drop out of school to help his family make ends meet and then he made the decision to enlist in the Army. This makes him one of the many soldiers to fight on the frontlines of D-Day.
"I didn’t want to work in the arsenal; I wanted to join my buddies,” Williams told News10. “Everybody else was going and I wanted to go, too.”
Fast forward to 2021, and Williams was given a moment he'll never forget. Surrounded by all the people he loves: friends, family, and fellow service men and women, the 62nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion member received his high school diploma from the Ichabod Crane Central School.
When the idea for the ceremony was presented to Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow, she knew she, along with the board of education, that it would be a special moment. “It was also no surprise when they unanimously approved Mr. Williams to receive an Ichabod Crane Diploma,” she said.
Not only did Williams get his diploma, but Valatie Mayor Dianne Argyle was there with a special statement, declaring January 23, 2021 as Harold E. Williams day in Valatie, New York.
Williams, a father, friend and loved one of many, told News10 that he never lost hope during his enlistment and returned to the U.S. to live with his family.
“We’re so proud of dad and everything he has accomplished in life, and we appreciate dad’s life as a man, as a human being, as a service member,” his son David Williams said.
And though he doesn’t want to believe himself a hero, he said his thoughts never leave his fallen friends and current service members. “There is a lot of heroes in the world today, and I just want to make sure that everybody remembers that no matter where you are, war is hell. Nobody wins, everybody loses.”