GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For Aycock Middle School seventh-grader H'tuh Rcom, World War II veteran and Army medic Howard Strickland brought history to life.
"I don't know how he went through all that," H'tuh said. "It would have been really hard for me."
Strickland was 19 when he was drafted. It took 17 days for him to sail from Norfolk, Virginia, to North Africa. As Strickland continued to share his memories of World War II with Aycock Middle School seventh-graders, he tells the story of when his group was attacked -- even before they landed in North Africa.
"Lost six or seven ships, torpedoed. Good American guys in the water. We picked up a lot of them."
The Army medic spent 27 months overseas. First in North Africa. Then Italy, France and Germany. It's Strickland's experiences in Germany that still sticks with him several decades later. His group liberated the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany.
"They had it terrible. They had nothing," Strickland said. "They went two to three days without eating. American GIs took food off of their tray and give it to them."
Despite seeing the worst in man, Strickland reminds the seventh-graders that there is good in the world.
"What a wonderful country this is. I know we fall short but we do help our fellow man a lot I think," he said.
And that's a lesson seventh-grader Antoine Shaw will remember.
"The military is a hard thing but it's something you won't regret doing," Antoine said.