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72 years later, WWII vet finally included in class photo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It took more than 70 years to happen, but a World War II veteran’s photograph has finally joined those of his high school classmates.

Ladislaus “Walter” Kostrzewski had accumulated enough credits to graduate early from Canisius High School in Buffalo in January 1944. But by the time his classmates received their diplomas in June, the 18-year-old had already been drafted and was serving in the Army Air Forces.

When the frame containing Class of 1944’s senior portraits was hung in a hallway at the all-boys Catholic school, Kostrzewski’s photo wasn’t among the images of graduates in tuxedos.

That changed Tuesday, when school officials held a ceremony to unveil a new class photo that includes the 90-year-old veteran’s portrait in uniform, taken from his World War II military identification.