A man who dropped out of high school more than 70 years ago to fight in the Second World War was just awarded his diploma.
Robert Lockhard left Circleville High School in Ohio before his expected 1944 graduation in order to serve in the US Army Air Corps 354th Infantry 89th Division to fight in Central Europe, northern France, and Normandy on D-Day.
He graduated officially as part of the Class of 2018. "It means everything to me. Everything," Mr Lockard told a local CNN affiliate. "All these years man, I thought about this."
Because of his Army service, Mr Lockhard earned the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, three Bronze Star designations, and a World War II Victory Medal. He can add high school graduate to that list of achievements now.
Mr Lockhard said he remembered the day he came home from the war as if it were just yesterday. “If it hadn’t been raining and a sloppy mess, I think I would’ve kissed the ground I was so homesick,” he remembered.
He said he had seen “too much death” and by the time he came back, life took priority over graduating high school.
The crowd cheered as the 92-year-old, donned in a maroon cap and gown, walked across the stage to receive his degree. He wiped the tears streaming down his face.
A school official said: "We are honored and privileged to have an exemplary individual whose path to graduation comes full circle today in a pursuit 74 years in the making”.
Particularly fitting, the ceremony took place the day before Memorial Day, the US holiday honouring fallen soldiers.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies