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thedrifter
06-17-09, 07:37 AM
A graduation ceremony worth waiting 43 years for
Posted: Jun 15, 2009 6:11 PM

SPOKANE -- Monday afternoon the East Valley High School Class of 2009 is getting ready for its graduation ceremony at the Opera House. For one of the 300 graduates it's a day he's waited to see for 43 years.

As those seniors receive their diplomas they'll be on the cusp of moving on with the rest of their lives. One of them however will be looking back on his.

That individual would be Allen Malmoe, member of the Class of 2009 ... and the Class of 1966.

"I had a flashback like I should have been here 44 years ago. It would have probably been the same excitement, really. It was that surreal," Malmoe said.

Allen left East Valley High School three weeks before graduation to join the Marines and serve in Vietnam.

"I went from childhood, young adulthood, right into the service of the United States of America," he said.

Now thanks to a Washington State law, Malmoe and other veterans can receive their diplomas without tests or classes. He'll now get to share the stage with kids young enough to be his grandchildren.

"I tried the cap on, it doesn't fit and I don't know why. My head's not that big," he said.

But tonight his head might be that big, swelling with pride as his fellow East Valley seniors - who have already named him Student of the Year - welcome him as a member of their graduating class.

While his fellow graduates might fidget and squirm and watch the clock during their graduation Monday night, Allen Malmoe has some advice for his classmates on what lies ahead.

"If they have any hopes and dreams they aspire to, they have to do it, they can do it, because you know, it's never too late," he said.

Like many of his fellow graduates, as Allen Malmoe is celebrating his graduation from high school Monday night his parents, who have waited four decades for this day, will be at the Opera House to watch him receive his diploma as well.

Ellie