World War II veteran receives his HS diploma at graduation ceremony

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EAST RUTHERFORD -

A World War II veteran finally received his high school diploma after 73 years.

Vito Trause, 93, was supposed to graduate high school in 1945. But he wasn’t able to make the ceremony because he was being held by Nazis as a prisoner of war. He was invited to Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford Thursday to participate in their graduation ceremony and to receive his long overdue diploma.

Trause was the first person to get the diploma during the ceremony. His fellow students in the class of 2018 embraced him and chanted, “USA! USA!”

“I appreciated it. I ain’t got much time left, you know? I’m on my last legs, so its’ good to graduate now,” he says.

Trause left school in November 1943 to join the military. His report card shows that he left school to serve. The reason reads, “Army.”

“I got drafted. My brother went, and my other brother went. They asked, ‘stay in school or go to war?’ And I went to war, because everyone else went,” Trause says.

He spent a year in a POW camp before he was liberated. He then returned to the United States, went to work and started a family.

His family says that they could not be happier for him.

“The man is 93 years old, and he just keeps going,” says his daughter Torry.

This was all the idea of Principal Dario Sforza, who says that he wanted to give back.

Trause says that he has a message for the class of 2018: Never forget Memorial Day and those who serve.

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