SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Those who bravely fought for our nation had to give up so much. For some, that meant giving up a high school diploma.
Now, decades later they are being honored with high school diplomas.
This honor is very emotional for the families of those who sacrificed so much. Michelle Baca's dad, Samuel Ramirez Baca, served in the army during the Korean war but passed away in 2015.
"It's just an honor for me to receive it since it was so important to him to serve our country, and he wasn't able to get his. So by doing this, it's an honor," Baca said.
Army Pvt. Pete Molina is 96 years old and served in World War II. He says he was drafted just before he finished high school.
Molina's daughter, Chris Estrada, filled out an application for the Operation Recognition Program that is offered through the San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools and the county's Department of Veterans' Services.
"He was excited, his eyes lit up and the one thing I most remember is, they're going to give me a diploma even though I don't have to study?" Estrada said.
Molina said it's a very big honor and a privilege to receive a diploma from San Bernardino High School.
The ceremony honored others who served and made that sacrifice.
"It's just like it completes everything," said air force veteran Daniel Carrillo.
To be honored was such a surreal feeling for those involved.
"I wouldn't have missed it for the world," said air force veteran Kareem Gates.
San Bernardino superintendent of schools, Ted Alejandre said, "We understand -- for them to leave high school to serve their nation -- it's such an important thing for us to do, to give them that diploma."
When looking back at the past, Carrillo has no regrets. "To me it's the best thing I ever did, really. I loved what I was doing, and I'd go back in right now if I could," he said.