SACRAMENTO -- Every May since 2001, the Sacramento County Board of Education has awarded high school diplomas to local veterans and Japanese American internees who were prevented from graduating due to World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.
"Our military men and women provided selfless service in defense of our nation and Operation Recognition is our humble way of paying tribute and acknowledging those who put their personal lives on hold to serve our country," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon.
During a Tuesday night ceremony at the Sacramento County Office of Education, three veterans were added to the list of program graduates, bringing the total to 199.
"Feels good. I mean, I've always wanted it but never actually had time to get it," said Jerry Lane Cushing, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War after attending McClatchy High School for three years. "Been always a worker, a hard worker, and I've worked different jobs, different types of jobs. Now that I can get my diploma, here I am to get it."
"Charles Edward Montue Jr. attended Grant Joint Union High School, formerly Norte del Rio in Sacramento, until March of his senior year, when his name came up on the selective service list. He was stationed in Fort Eustis, an Army installation near Newport News, Virginia," said the emcee and SCOE Communications Director Tim Herrera.
"It appears like I started from the top first and worked my way down because I'm a graduate of the Sergeants Major Academy. I'm also a graduate of the third United States Army NCO Academy and then now, I'm a graduate, I guess, of high school," said Benjamin Spurlock Robinson, who joined the National Guard for two years and then enlisted in the U.S. Army.