Published: June 2002
Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., gives WWII veteran Frank Bryer, 76, of Providence his diploma at the graduation ceremony.
PHOTO & STORY EXCERPTS: Newport Daily News
Twenty six veterans who dropped out of school to defend their country during World War II were honored during a special graduation ceremony at Rogers High School. In attendance were friends families, local dignitaries, fellow veterans and students from the high school's Junior ROTC program.
The graduation ceremony featured several cadets carrying hats from the different military branches and one cadet wearing the uniform of an Army solider. At the end of the service the cadets knelt at the foot of a large white cross that stood at the center of the stage.
The graduation was part of a national initiative to award diplomas to the many American veterans who left school in the 1940s to join the armed forces during the war. Last year, the General Assembly authorized the state Department of Education's Board of Regents to grant high school diplomas to World War II veterans.
Rep. William J. Murphy, D-Jamestown handed out the diplomas while US Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I., distributed congressional certificates of honor. Kennedy thanked the men for their service and called them "America's finest heroes".
Those veterans who were not able to attend the ceremony will receive their diplomas by mail.