Pearl Harbor vet receives high school diploma on 93rd birthday

MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Robert Coles has lived an impressive life.

Most recently, NEWS CENTER followed him to the 75thanniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He was one of the dozens of survivors who returned to the island for the commemoration.

Wednesday was his 93rd birthday.

Friends and family joined him at the legion hall in Machias to celebrate his special day, and it was a day full of surprises. Balloons, confetti and, of course, lots of food.

“One would think turning 93 would slow you down, but not this guy,” said one attendee.

Coles received the best birthday gift Wednesday morning, something he has wanted since he was 17-years-old: his diploma from Machias High School.

“I’m a high school graduate. I can’t get over that,” Coles said. “It’s something I really aspired to do all my life, but I was too busy to get a GED.”

It’s an achievement you wouldn’t expect to see at this age, but proof that even 75 years later, anything is possible.

“I thought it was really impressive to see that he still cared about his education and I hope that it encourages other kids to stay in school and get their diploma,” said another attendee.

“God bless you people,” Coles said. “It has fulfilled my inner desire and it makes me complete.”

On Christmas Eve, NEWS CENTER will be airing a special about Robert Coles’ trip to Pearl Harbor. Chris Facchini will take us on the journey, from when Coles left Machias, to the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and his return to Maine.

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