JEFFERSON HILLS (KDKA) — The Thomas Jefferson High School Class of 1965 kicked off their 50th class reunion weekend Friday night by remembering one of their own.

It was an especially poignant get-together with West Jefferson School District superintendent Dr. Michael Panza presenting a diploma posthumously to Marine Lance Corporal Robert Guy Brown of Finleyville.

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Brown, who dropped out of Thomas Jefferson High in the 11th grade to join the U.S. Marine Corps, went off to Vietnam and was killed in action three days after his 19th birthday in March of 1966.

Accepting the diploma was the fallen Marine’s sister, Gilda Brown.

She told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “It’s an honor that my brother is finally being recognized, because he wasn’t recognized back then.

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“Everywhere you went, people cut him down because he went to Vietnam,” she added. “[They said] he didn’t belong there, get him out. When he comes home, let him know.”

Brown told her brother’s classmates at the reunion dinner, “I want to thank everyone for this; you don’t know how much this means to our family.”

Lance Cpl. Brown received numerous medals and awards for his service to his country, including the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, but now, he also finally has his high school diploma.

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