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Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, reads Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go" to students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, reads Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go" to students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, reads Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go" to students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, reads Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go" to students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday by wearing paper "The Cat in the Hat" hats on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Students at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday by wearing paper "The Cat in the Hat" hats on Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Gabriella Alcorta, a third-grader at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany, dressed up as Thing Two, a character from Dr. Seuss' famous children's book "The Cat in the Hat." The school celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday on Thursday, March 2, 2017, as part of the national Read Across America Day.
Gabriella Alcorta, a third-grader at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany, dressed up as Thing Two, a character from Dr. Seuss' famous children's book "The Cat in the Hat." The school celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday on Thursday, March 2, 2017, as part of the national Read Across America Day. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Senior Airman Royer Figuereo reads Dr. Seuss' "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" to fifth-graders at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
Senior Airman Royer Figuereo reads Dr. Seuss' "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" to fifth-graders at Ramstein Intermediate School in Germany on Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark shakes hands with Ramstein Intermediate School, Germany, fifth-grader Skylar Murray on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Clark slipped him a military coin for being one of his school's most prolific readers.
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark shakes hands with Ramstein Intermediate School, Germany, fifth-grader Skylar Murray on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Clark slipped him a military coin for being one of his school's most prolific readers. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Students at Ramstein Intermediate School connected with a three-star general Thursday over the words of one of America’s most beloved children’s authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss.

On what would have been Geisel’s 113th birthday, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, a B-1 bomber pilot and the commander of 3rd Air Force, sat in the school’s library, talking and reading to a small group of rapt third- and fourth-graders.

The school was celebrating reading as part of the national Read Across America Day, held each year on Geisel’s birthday.

Clark, a guest reader, told the kids his favorite Seuss book was “Yertle the Turtle,” a story he first heard on the radio when he was a kid. He must have read the story 50 times after that, Clark told the students.

Though Geisel was the master of the whimsical, peppering his stories with nonsense words that would make even the Grinch giggle, his books often carried important messages for young readers.

After Clark read, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” a book about the journey of life and its challenges, he encouraged the students “to have a good attitude, to think about what you’re doing, because it matters every day.”

“That’s what I think Dr. Seuss was trying to tell us,” he said.

The kids told Clark some of their challenges included moving often and having to say “goodbye” to best friends. Clark encouraged them to maintain those friendships, no matter the distance, asking them if they could guess how long he’s known his best friend.

“Since third grade,” he said.

“Keep on being brave, never give up, keep on being the great kids that you are,” Clark said.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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