WWII, Korean Vet Realizes Long-Held Dream

At age 91, Harold Dinzes is the oldest known veteran in college.
At age 91, Harold Dinzes is the oldest known veteran in college.

For the nation and it's veterans it's a day of commemorations and memories, parades and praise.

One former soldier marching in the Veterans Day parade in New York has long been marching to a different drum and it has taken him down an unusual path to follow a long-held dream.

The aging pictures, the framed medals, the proud citations only tell part of Harold Dinzes' story.

He fought in World War II and later in Korea, but a soldier only sees a small slice of war.

"I didn't have any way of knowing what was happening a hundred feet away from me in the jungles," he says.

He's learning now. Four days a week, the 91-year old veteran kisses his wife goodbye and heads off to class.

It's a chance he missed after the wars. Now, some seventy years after he first joined the Army, Harold studies history at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

"The greatest feeling in the whole world. Outside my family, this is the best thing that ever happened to me,"Dinze says.

To his professors, he's a sweet surprise.

"He was kind enough to offer me a peppermint in lieu of an apple," says one of his professors who jokes that sucking up with a peppermint help get you better grades.

To his classmates, he's an inspiration. "I thought I was an old man coming to school, starting school when I was 31," says a classmate," and here he is...If he can do it, I can do it.

In 1944 when the GI Bill first passed, 22 million vets went back to school.

So, Harold's not the only vet at college, but he's probably the oldest.

In fact, The Veteran's Affairs Department went back and checked through its records and couldn't find anyone older.

"My kids think I was in the civil war, but I wasn't."

Yet he hasn't fully committed to the 21st century, having nothing to do with computers.

When asked if he expected to get your degree Harold responded that he didn't think he'd live long enough for it.

He says the real joy is just the experience.