High school, for most of us, is, or was, a pivotal time in our lives. Meeting new people, awkward school dances, and finally receiving that symbol of culminating pride: the high school diploma.
But for Bob Martignon, a WWII veteran living in Norway, that symbol of pride took a little bit longer to receive.
â??I wanted adventure,â?? says Martignon. â??I was an adventure personâ?|always doing something, and I thought here's my chance."
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bob decided to enlist; he was only in the 10th grade.
â??My mother didn't want me to enlist,â?? he explained. â??I wanted to enlist, but she kept saying â??no, no, no.â??â??
His mother finally allowed him to enlist, and he was soon sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese, sometimes spending up to nine months at a time on his ship.
â??Then we manned our guns,â?? he says. â??The Jap planes...we could hear them in the distance...the bombing and all that."
After the war, Bob eventually moved back to Norway, got married and raised his children. Now, he spends his time creating intricate figures fashioned from wood of old buildings.
But he wanted to do one more thing.
It all started when he told his family his only regret in life was not getting his diploma.
Thatâ??s where Dickinson County Veterans Affairs Director Chuck Lantz stepped in to help bring Bob's dream into a reality.
â??Itâ??s a real privilege,â?? says Chuck, â??to give back to these WWII veterans for sacrificing what they've all sacrificed."
Some receive their diplomas in four years, for others, the process is shorter. But for Bob Martignon, a wait of 69 years is a symbol of pride that compliments a beautiful life of service and honor.