WWII veteran receives honorary high school diploma

04.09.19 | Bob Price

In 1943, when Edward Baron was just 17-years-old, he gave up the opportunity to graduate high school to serve in the Marines during World War II. There, he served as a paratrooper and a trained machine gunner. But his time in the war was never easy. 

"I was involved in a massacre," said World War II Marine Corps veteran, Edward Baron. "It was called 'Suicide Creek' where we lost all of our NCO's (Non-Commissioned Officers)."

While serving in the South Pacific, Baron was injured and later awarded the Purple Heart.    

"I think it made [me] the person I am," said Baron. "The men I served with, they're the greatest people that we've ever had."

After coming home, he owned a jewelry store in Ithaca for 41 years. He's even been married to his wife for 70 years. But not having his diploma always bothered him; something his granddaughter wanted to change. With help from the VA and Elmira High School, at 94-years-old, Baron was able to receive an honorary high school diploma. 

"I know it's one thing he's always wanted to accomplish before his time," said Baron's Granddaughter/ Elmira High School counselor, Molly Duffy. "I'm really glad that this is happening and I feel like it's going to help him feel complete, which makes me really happy."

While Baron has received awards and medals throughout his life, he says finally receiving his high school diploma means a little bit more.

"It's probably one of the last accomplishments of my life," said Barron.