Peter Decareau joined the military at the onset of World War II. 78 years later, a room full of people which included his friends and family showed their support and cheered for Decareau as he finally received his high school diploma.
Decareau left Saugus High School in Massachusetts without graduating to enlist in the US Navy in 1942. At the time, he was only 17 years old. While in the Navy, he served on four different ships and ended up in Japan when peace was finally reached between the axis and allies.
According to media reports, people at the ceremony said Decareau deserved the diploma and noted how proud he was due to his big smile while wearing his graduation cap.
During the war, the veteran went all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, serving during the invasions of Okinawa, Sicily, and Africa.
After the war, Decareau returned to the United States where he founded his company Decareau Engraving in Boston. He met his wife Hazel soon after and they ended up raising their sons Peter Jr. and Paul and daughters Dianne and Donna.
Decareau has lived in Burlington since 1960 where he still resides. Last year, one of his sons Paul went to the school district in order to see if his father could still get a diploma. He told the High School Committee his father certainly deserved the special honor. Decareau was indeed very surprised to find out the Saugus school committee organized the honorary diploma ceremony.
Decareau stated that he has a special spot in his home to display the diploma next to his wife Hazel’s ashes.
The 95-year-old World War II veteran is an example of how perseverance can allow you to achieve great things in life.