Veteran earns high school diploma 74 years after leaving to fight in WWII

The ceremony took place just one day before Memorial Day, the US day to honour fallen soldiers

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 29 May 2018 14:39
Comments
Army war veteran who missed graduation to fight in WW2 attends ceremony 74 years later

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

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in