Seven decades ago, Charles Benning left his high school in Ohio to go fight World War II in Europe. On Thursday, the 92-year-old veteran will finally get his diploma, joining more than 50 teenage graduates wearing a cap and gown at Yellow Springs High School. "I’m glad they realized some of the stuff I did while I was on this Earth," he tells the Dayton Daily News. Benning served in a unit of black soldiers in the Army. "Let me tell you, there was a hell of a lot of prejudice," he says.
He was a platoon sergeant in an ambulance company that ferried wounded Americans, French, and Germans from the battlefields of Normandy and beyond. "Most of my medals came from France," he said. "They didn’t come from this country." Benning's grandson says he approached the school about awarding the diploma. "Over the years, he said the only thing he regrets was never having that opportunity," says Sean Jenkins.