Lance Corporal Joey Kennedy is walking proof of the horrors of war. Kennedy said "I went over there. I was very scared. I didn't know what was going to happen".
Kennedy describes hot days, sleepless nights and always being on the alert.
He said "There's so much bad stuff over there, with the Iraqi insurgents. It really makes me not want to go over there, but I'm a United States Marine. That's what I do for a living. I go over there and fight and I do it well".
In March, the 24-year old marine proudly went to Iraq to serve his country. Kennedy smiled and said "I became a machine gunner. It's a very, very, fun job".
Then, while on patrol near Baghdad last month, an underground bomb exploded. His gunner was killed. Kennedy and another soldier were seriously wounded. That day was Friday the 13th.
Kennedy said "I had couple of pieces of shrapnel that I got in my cheek and my back".
Third Grader Antonio Palang said "He got hit by a piece of metal and it hit him in the cheek. I thought it hurt really, really bad".
Flying shrapnel also injured Kennedy's jaw and leg.
Kennedy said "If the marines didn't know first aid, I'd probably be six feet under right now. I'm so glad to be here to talk with you right now, so glad".
Karis Hill said "I think he was very brave to do that for us, because fighting a country is a very hard job".
Maya McCullough said "I think that he was brave to go in the army and that he's a good person".
To honor his courage and wish him a speedy recovery, the children at Quarles Elementary serenaded their hometown hero with patriotic music.
They sang "It filled my eyes with tears, my heart with delight, my blue, my red and white".
It's music to the ears of a soldier who's happy to be home. Kennedy says he's recovering well from his injuries. He returns to duty in North Carolina next month. His unit is expected to come home from Iraq in early October.