LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — On Sam Wasson’s walls is a collection of his achievements.
“That’s me dropping the wreath in the water,” he recalled.
It’s been 74 years since the Second World War ended, but talking with Wasson you would think it was yesterday.
“We were dealt a tough hand,” he recalled.
Wasson says he was just 16 years old when Japan attacked the Navy base in Pearl Harbor. That year four of his classmates didn’t return home for school and Sam and a few of his teammates made a decision that would change their lives.
“I quit high school when I was 16 and hitchhiked to the recruiting station and joined the Navy,” Wasson said.
He went on to serve on five submarines in the Pacific Ocean. From 1943 to 1953 he says his main responsibility was cooking in the kitchen.
“One guy put his arm around me after he had my mashed potatoes and he said you little son of a if you had breast on your back I’d marry you (laughs),” he recalled.
Wasson admits those were some of the best times of his life. But at 94 years old, one piece of paper was missing from his wall.
“I said, 'You know something, I think I’m going to graduate with this class,'” he said.
Wasson had become a regular at Wellington High School football games. After seeing senior night, with the help of some faculty he was able to join this year’s graduating class. A moment he’s waited a lifetime for.
“I tell you two things I’m not going to do ... I’m not going to go to college and I’m not looking for a job,” he laughed. “Everything else is open.”