TAMPA (CBSMiami) — It’s never too late to finish what you started. Just ask, a 95-year-old Florida World War II veteran who donned a cap and gown and walked across the stage this weekend at Florida high school graduation ceremony.
Joe Perricone missed his original 1943 graduation.
Before the school year ended, he’d already enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Europe to fight in World War II.
“Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it wasn’t any fun,” said Perricone.
His family passed on the story of his sacrifice and missed graduation through the years, until Perricone’s grandson decided to do something about.
76 years later, Perricone got to walk across the stage at Hillsborough High School’s graduation.
“It was special. Yes, it was. I never thought I’d be wearing one of these things,” said Perricone referring to his cap and gown.
The moment was just as moving for his grandson who contacted the school board and helped make it happen.
“He’s not someone who seeks the spotlight, so for us it was really special for us to remind him how special he really is,” said Tom Palermo.
Palermo said he wanted his grandfather to feel as special as the family says he is.