CADILLAC — Memorial Day wasn’t the only reason a World War II veteran from downstate had to celebrate this weekend.
He finally received his high school diploma.
The following story is courtesy of reporter Megan Woods from our CBS affiliate in Cadillac.
Milton Mockerman changed his birth certificate in 1944 so he could join the Navy and fight in World War II.
He says, “Everybody my age was engulfed in a war it was a war to survive and everybody that could was serving. I enjoyed my time in the Navy.”
But, it cost him his high school diploma.
Milton says, “We created so much of a commotion that they decided they had to do something with us. So, they said well we’ll figure this out and have a special ceremony for you. Well, the school burned down with all the records.”
He moved to Muskegon and started a career in the railroad business. Plus, he had a family. More than 70 years later something was still missing. He contacted Kalkaska High School.
Principal Mary Deb Rabourn says, “Both my grandfathers fought in World War II and they’re both gone and have been gone for a while. So, it was very emotional for me as well and just wanting to make this happen for him. He came to the school with his discharge papers and agreed to meet with two of our history classes to speak about his experience in the war.”
Aaron Mockerman is his grandson. He says, “We’re all extremely proud of him. I mean a lot of people didn’t know about this until just a few years ago and now that he’s finishing it. I mean we drove up from Indiana we left the house at 6 o’clock this morning to make sure we were on time.”