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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Korean War veteran receives diploma 75 years late

Big+day%2C+big+smiles.+Commander+Lloyd+Peck+poses+for+a+photo+after+receiving+his+diploma.+%0ALeft+to+right%3A+Representative+Lou+Schmitt%2C+Paula+Foreman%2C+Commander+Lloyd+Peck+and+Tom+Fox.++
Madison Aboud
Big day, big smiles. Commander Lloyd Peck poses for a photo after receiving his diploma. Left to right: Representative Lou Schmitt, Paula Foreman, Commander Lloyd Peck and Tom Fox.

As the Senior Vice Commander of the Blair County War Veterans stood in front of over 2,000 high school students at the pep rally on August 25, Lloyd B. Peck felt a sense of homecoming. 

“It’s good to be back at Altoona High School. It feels like home. Like I’m 19 again,” Commander Peck said.

When he was just a junior in high school, Commander Peck left school to join the military. However, he still looks back on high school with a fond smile and memories of a lifetime. 

“It’s like old times. We used to sneak out and go across to the restroom. When we’d come back, we’d get caught by the assistant principals and be given detention,” Commander Peck said. 

Although high school left fond memories, his memories of the Korean war are much more serious. During his time in the military, Commander Peck served in the Army and the Marines, both during his time in Korea. 

“When we faced those 120,000 Chinese and Korean soldiers, it was no picnic,” Commander Peck said. 

For 17 days, soldiers fought against the Korean and Chinese. Conditions were dehumanizing. 

“It was awfully cold, and we had no hot food,” Commander Peck said. 

Though he faced many challenges and fears throughout the war, nothing could have prepared Commander Peck for the day when the exchanged prisoners returned. 

“Some of them were in bad shape, but we treated their prisoners better than they treated ours,” Commander Peck said. 

After returning home from the war, Commander Peck went on to marry his wife, Judith (Judy) Peck. 

“We’ve been married for 54 years, and I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world,” Commander Peck said. 

Commander Peck’s biggest source of inspiration is his wife and their love has only blossomed over time. 

“We’ve had our bad days and our good days. We hope to be together until we are both deceased and are gone from this world,” Commander Peck said. 

Commander Peck hasn’t stopped being an active member of his community and has contributed his time to many activities since returning home. 

“What haven’t I been doing?” Commander Peck said. “I did Blair County Honor Guard, I’ve done 356 funerals where I played taps. I commanded a war veterans council and I was responsible for the Memorial and Veterans’ Day parades for 16 years.” 

Since serving, Commander Peck feels there has been a shift in the military. 

“I don’t like the way the military is being treated today. I feel the military has downgraded and it has made our military weak. If we had to fight a war, I don’t think we’d be able to do it,” Commander Peck said. 

Commander Peck always planned on joining the military. 

“I hope that all who go into the military never go to war. But, if you do, pay attention to basic training. It is very important and will carry you through,” Commander Peck said. 

Due to entering the military during his junior year, Commander Peck was never able to receive his diploma. Through the Operation Recognition Program, Commander Peck was able to do so, 75 years later. 

“In 1948, I left high school to go and serve my country. Now, here I am, 75 years later, receiving my diploma,” Commander Peck said.

Melissa Krainer

Senior William Wertz is currently enlisted in the Army. He was present in the gymnasium when Commander Peck was given his diploma. 

“Watching Commander Peck receive his diploma was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I felt really proud to be a part of the school who was able to give it to him,” Wertz said. 

Commander Peck feels his time in the military changed him as a person. 

“It turned me from a boy into a man,” Commander Peck said. 

When first asked, Commander Peck turned down the offer to receive his diploma. But was eventually persuaded by Paula Foreman to do so. Commander Peck is thankful to Foreman for having him get his diploma. 

“Receiving my diploma today meant the world to me,” Command Peck said. 

 

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About the Contributors
Madison Aboud
Madison Aboud, Associate Editor
My name is Madison Aboud and I am a sophomore at AAHS. This is my second year on Mountain Echo staff and my first year as an Associate Editor. In Jr. high, I was a reporter on the AAJHS Livewire. In my free time, you can find me reading or singing along to my favorite show-tunes. I’ve always had a passion for writing. My ultimate goal after high school is to become a professional journalist. Outside of Mountain Echo, I am in band, chorus, vocal ensemble, student council and Friends of Rachel. I strive to make sure students of AAHS are finding out everything they need to know within a timely manner. I can’t wait for another great year! 
Melissa Krainer
Melissa Krainer, Reporter
Ciao! My name is Melissa Krainer, and this is my second year reporting for the Mountain Echo. I’m very excited to be a part of the staff this year as a sophomore! I’ve always been passionate about writing, and I can’t wait to help report on school and community events this year. In my free time, you might find me crocheting, reading, playing the violin or working on math puzzles. I speak both English and German fluently. This is one of my favorite quotes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Comments (3)

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  • D

    David SeeleySep 15, 2023 at 9:05 am

    Congratulations, sir, on receiving your diploma, and thank you for your service to this country. You truly are an inspiration.

    Reply
  • D

    David SeeleySep 15, 2023 at 8:49 am

    Congratulations, not only on receiving your diploma, sir, but also on a life well lived. Thank you for your service and for sharing your amazing story!

    Reply
  • R

    Rachel KennedySep 8, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Absolutely amazing story! So well written!!! Great job! I cannot wait to read more articles!!!!

    Reply