World War Two veteran gets high school diploma

The 99 year old hero says the honor was worth the wait

MANTACHIE, MISS. (WCBI) – For Henry Clifton Cockrell, getting his high school diploma, more than eighty years after his classmates, was worth the wait.

“It took me a long time to get through school, a long time,” Cockrell said.

Cockrell’s family were sharecroppers in Itawamba County, and when he was 13 or so, Cockrell had to quit school, to work and help his family.  Then came World War Two, and Cockrell enlisted in the US Army.

His division was part of the afternoon D Day invasion force that landed on Utah Beach.

After the war, Cockrell returned to Itawamba County, and worked at ICC, taking care of the grounds, and athletic fields, working hard every day.

“I have been blessed, highly blessed and I held jobs, where people had degrees, a lot of times it wasn’t education, it was honesty,” Cockrell said.

Cockrell’s daughters say they were honored to witness their Dad get his honorary diploma from Mantachie High School.  They also want to be sure the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation are never forgotten.

“The generations coming on need to study history, don’t let it be cancelled,  history cannot be rewritten, have to accept it as it is,” said Shelia Lockwood.

Mister Cockrell was born on Christmas Day, so the high school graduate and his family are planning a big celebration for his 100th birthday.

After Cockrell retired from ICC, he was on staff at the Mall at Barnes Crossing.