The recipients of the posthumous degrees were joined by the newest class of cadets commissioned, symbolizing what could have been the next chapter for these soldiers.
For Sgt. Howard Urabe, student life at the UH Manoa campus meant a possible career as a teacher.
"I'm sure he would have been happy because he always wanted to go school," said Urabe's sister Elaine Tamura.
"He was a brilliant man and it is deserving that he gets a degree even if it's way past due," said Clifford Urabe, Sgt. Urabe's nephew.
McKay said although the ceremony came nearly 70 years after the men died, it was the honor the soldiers deserved.