A 94-year-old decorated war hero from Ohio held back tears on Sunday as he was awarded his high school diploma.
Robert Lockard officially graduated as part of Circleville High School Class of 2018, but his journey at the school began more than seven decades ago.
“It means everything to me. Everything,” Lockard told CNN affiliate WBNS. “All these years man, I thought about this.”
Lockard was originally supposed to graduate in 1944 but dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army. He served in the Air Corps 354th Infantry 89th Division during World War II where he fought in central Europe, Northern France and Normandy.
He’s a recipient of a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, three Bronze Star designations and a World War II Victory Medal, according WBNS. And now he can add high school graduate to his accomplishments.
On Sunday, the veteran stood on stage wiping away tears as he accepted his diploma in front of a cheering crowd.
Before presenting the diploma, 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.”
CNN’s Patrick Cornell contributed to the report.