World War II vet, 95, graduates more than 70 years after leaving high school


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Joe Perricone walked across the stage to fetch his diploma Saturday, more than 70 years after leaving school to join the war. 

Perricone was attending Hillsborough High School in Feb. 1943 when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Perricone was sent to Europe and returned to Tampa after the war. He received his diploma, but never got to walk at graduation.

His grandson, Judge Thomas Palermo, arranged for his grandfather to walk at the school’s graduation ceremony on Saturday with the help of the school board and Principal Gary Brady. 

The veteran finally received his diploma in person at a ceremony Saturday and was honored for his service. 

NOTE: This article previously stated that Perricone’s granddaughter arranged for him to appear at Saturday’s ceremony, but it was his grandson. The story has been corrected. 

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