Wednesday night, 50 years later, he received his high school diploma.
Under Massachusetts state law, school committees have the authority to issue high school diplomas to honorably discharged veterans who fought in World War II, the Korean or Vietnam Wars, who joined the Armed Forces prior to completing their high school graduation requirements.
This summer, following years of thinking about it, Mr. Buckley petitioned Mayor Patrick Murphy, requesting his diploma.
He was awarded his diploma by Mayor Patrick Murphy, Superintendent of Schools Jean Franco and Lowell High School Headmaster Brian Martin at Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting.
Mr. Buckley, 67, grew up on a farm in Dunstable (when kids from Tyngsboro and Dunstable attended Lowell High School). He served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1970, including two tours in Vietnam. He served aboard the USS Buchanan and earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Star.
He has lived in Pepperell since 1976 and is a plumbing and heating contractor. He and his wife, Susan, have raised eight sons; the youngest, Nathan, served two tours in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army.
Mr. Buckley has been an active member of his community, having served on the Pepperell Conservation Commission and Board of Health and has served on the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Committee for two decades.