Edward Sanders gets his diploma after dropping out to fight in the Korean War
An 87-year-old war veteran has accepted his diploma, decades after dropping out of the same high school to become a pilot.
Edward Sanders was just 15 when he made a deal with a local flight school to learn to fly planes.
He was junior at JHS by 18, but he put his formal education on hold and decided to join the Air Force to fight in the Korean War.
He became a B-47 pilot, though initially, he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
“Next thing I knew, I was in Korea, wishing I was back in Jackson,” Sanders said, according to MLive.
“We had a lot of scary moments over there,” he added.
“My first day there, I thought it would be my last,” he said.
“You can’t imagine what it was like.”
“You could really get some good hillbilly music on that radio,” he continued.
“I used to sit there with the canopy up and back. I used to sit there with the earphones on, listen to hillbilly music.”
He later spotted a photo of a girl who’d gone to his school while home on leave.
Patricia would become his wife after he completed his time with the air force.
They would go on to have three children, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
He said he “thought she was the prettiest girl in Jackson, so I asked her would she wait for me, and she said she would,” Sanders said of his wife.
“When I got out, we got married.”
This year, Sanders decided it was time to finally get his diploma, taking advantage of a Michigan law allowing veterans who dropped out for World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War to graduate.
It also happened to be the graduation year for his great-great-niece, and the two are excited.
“I thought, ‘Boy, this is going to be really special,’” Bissell said, adding that she can’t wait to cross that stage.
“That’s the best part of all of this,” she said.
“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Sanders said he was thankful for those who made it possible to get his diploma.
“I want to thank Principal [Monica Pierce] for helping me out,” he said.
“She’s really a wonderful woman. She made it happen.”
“I never dreamed I would be able to graduate. I’m so thankful for that.”