Every year, we celebrate the graduation of another Naval Academy class; and they always remind me of my own. Memories of Graduation Week’s pageantry and excitement come rushing back, and bring a smile to my face. I remember how young we were then, and how eager we were to finally join the fleet, and truly begin to serve our country as naval officers.
Looking back now, my time at the Naval Academy was a short chapter in my life; but it was also one of the most important ones, because the values driven home during my time there laid the foundation for everything else that was to come. And while they may now understandably want to, “put that place in their rear view mirror,” I have a feeling these young USNA grads will someday feel the same way I do.
As the Class of 2022 begins its service to America today, in uncertain and dangerous times, it’s worth remembering the words of John F. Kennedy, a young naval officer who went on to become the President of the United States. Speaking at the Naval Academy, President Kennedy said, “Any man who may be asked, in this century, what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction: I served in the United States Navy.”
President Kennedy’s words ring just as true today as they did then. Welcome aboard, Naval Academy Class of 2022; and may God bless and protect you as you begin your service to America.