San Diego

Korean War Veteran Receives High School Diploma

“It’s not just a piece of paper. It justifies my life," Norm Johnson said

An 83-year-old Korean War veteran received his high school diploma on Wednesday, 60 years after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Norm Johnson joined left San Diego High School in 1950 to join the Air Force. He came back three years later, got his GED and went straight to a junior college.

He was a publicist for celebrities like Mary Wilson of The Supremes and The Laugh Factory in Las Vegas.

But despite his accomplishments, he always wished he could have done one thing--to graduate high school.

“I never got to walk across the stage, never got the applause, never got to take my hat off and throw it in the air, and never got to shake hands with the principal," Johnson told NBC 7.

On Wednesday, Johnson received his high school diploma through the Operation Recognition program. It was presented to him by the San Diego County Board of Education in Linda Vista.

Johnson told NBC 7, he's met three U.S. presidents, hung out with Elvis Presley and James Dean and even met the Queen of England.

But getting his honorary high school diploma was a big accomplishment for him.

“It’s not just a piece of paper. It justifies my life," he said.

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