101-year-old veteran finally gets to walk during college graduation ceremony

Fred Taylor missed his graduation after being drafted during World War II.

ByJaylene Lopez via logo
June 4, 2023, 4:05 AM

It took 80 years, but it was worth it!

Fred Taylor, who is 101 years old and lives in California, was deployed during World War II to serve with the Army Air Corps Reserve.

As a result, he wasn't able to attend his 1943 graduation at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he had expected to receive his degree in music.

Recently, however, Fred Taylor got the opportunity to walk alongside other graduates, thanks to his daughter, Linda Taylor.

According to Cornell College, Linda Taylor, who is a professor and no stranger to graduation ceremonies, gifted her father with tickets to Iowa so he could finally attend his long-delayed graduation ceremony.

"Linda mentioned this idea a long time ago," Fred Taylor said, according to a Cornell College news post. "But it was a big surprise to me that she had gone ahead and made the arrangements to do it. So, of course, I'm surprised and excited about it."

PHOTO: Fred Taylor walks the stage at the Cornell College commencement ceremony on May 14, 2023.
Fred Taylor walks the stage at the Cornell College commencement ceremony on May 14, 2023.
Megan Amr/Cornell College

Linda Taylor added, "You know that feeling when you give somebody you love something really special that delights them and delights you even more? Better late than never, I think!"

Fred Taylor's time at Cornell College shaped important parts of his life. It was there that he finished his music degree -- he would later get a master's degree in music education at Drake University and serve as a music teacher for years before his retirement -- and met his future wife Peggy Newberg during their senior year.

"The college was extremely important to me," he said.

Even though his father was able to drive to the school to pick up his diploma while he served in the military, Fred Taylor said the ceremony brought everything full circle.

"It really ties the ribbon on it, makes me feel like now it's complete," he told ABC News affiliate KCRG.

Editor's note: This was originally published on May 17, 2023.

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