Veterans have waited a long time for high school diplomas

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2008

Dear editor,

The April 4 Times-Journal editorial, &8220;War veterans may get high school diplomas,&8221; was interesting.

In the years leading into World War II, a number of male students had to leave Albert G. Parrish High School for military duty. To do otherwise was unthinkable.

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After the World War, students unable to complete graduation requirements before military duty attended more classes and/or were required to pass tests to graduate. Often it took several weeks to several months to complete requirements.

Had they only waited 60 years, then, according to your editorial, all that would be required was to apply.

Our 1943 Parrish High graduation program listed 133 students present. It also listed six students who were in the armed forces &8212; Horton Bradford, Davis Garrison, Lonnie Harris, Roy Fluker, Lawrence Singley and Guy Henry. They had completed graduation requirements, but couldn&8217;t delay military service long enough to get their diplomas in person.

Bradford and Fluker are deceased. Garrison lives in Tennessee; Henry is at Catherine;

at last report, Harris lived in Birmingham.

Singley, who lives at Jamestown, Calif., had an unusual distinction. He was called to active Navy duty two weeks before commencement. His mother, Bessie Singley, was among proud parents and relatives in the old junior high school auditorium that night of May 31, 1943. When Larry&8217;s name was called, she walked up and claimed her son&8217;s diploma.

Jim Eaves was in the 11th grade in 1942 when he took a technical job with the military in Mississippi and soon enlisted in the old U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, he took tests to get his diploma. He lives in Texas.

Some didn&8217;t go back.

William &8220;Tricky&8221; Manderson recalls that he was in the 10th or 11th grade at old Selma High School, and a corporal in the Alabama National Guard when his unit was activated Nov. 25, 1940. He made a career of the military, retiring in 1963 from the 101st Airborne Division as lieutenant colonel. He lives in Columbus, Ga.

Cornelius Hamilton joined the Navy and retired as a lieutenant commander. Raymond Burrell and Robert Shelley Cooper Jr. joined the National Guard in 1941. Cooper ended up in the Navy and was killed during the invasion of North Africa.

The list can go on and on. And that was just in Selma.


Joe B. McKnight

Columbus, Ohio