USNA – United States Naval Academy: To see it is to marvel at the beauty of the grounds and the buildings, to have a glimpse of the band of brothers/sisters who entered and made it through four years is something that takes your breath away.
My small glimpse of this group of inspirational men and women show the complete package of all that is good in humanity. I stand in the football stadium and watch the midshipmen march on to the field, company by company parading in front of us. They walk together in such precision that I could only see one line of white as each step was taken. They march to the sound of patriotic music played by the band and I find myself taking video and pictures so that I can attempt to relive the moments again and again. As these midshipmen salute, sing, chant, and cheer, they also honor and respect those who have come before them. I can never make it through any Navy ceremony without a tear running down my cheek…
We spent an amazing weekend in Annapolis, MD under sunny skies and perfect 70 degree weather! Sleep was secondary to reliving the good old days! I even heard stories that I hadn’t heard before in the past 30 years! The 35th reunion for the class of 1978 came and went in the blink of an eye, the renewed friendships and the laughter of classmates and their antics was entertaining as usual!
The nice thing about THIS type of college reunion is that the spouse most likely knows almost as many people. Yes, they graduate and go into their separate fields within the Navy – Surface Ships, Nuclear Power, Subs, Aviation, Marine Corps… but they see each other again and again while serving our great nation! In no other school do you graduate and you are guaranteed to work and live alongside your classmates for the next six years! We share life. For me, this reunion is my chance to catch up with the sisters in the “club.” We were stationed together, we travelled together, we played on softball and basketball teams, we had babies and we shared meals, advice, and helped each other. You don’t forget the sisters who came to your rescue and kept you company for months on end!! The fun meter spectrum was pegged and the tears shed together were plenty.
To see our husbands together again made me so happy! I listened to these men (women were allowed to enter the academies two years after Aldo’s class) talk about life back then, marching off demerits – the stories of how the demerits were earned…. classes, studying, running along the Severn River, wandering Annapolis on liberty, memorizing all of their music so they could march and play in the Drum and Bugle Corps, did I mention studying & class? I noticed the way that they all deeply respected each other, they took the time to really understand what was going on in each other’s lives. They looked into each other’s eyes to talk, not looking over the shoulder trying to find someone else. It’s a brotherhood, it’s a way of life, it’s a commitment, it’s God and Country.
And now we leave Annapolis, a little more refreshed with promises of mini reunions and visits across the country. I am reminded that I’m tied to a group of people who made my life so rich, who loved and mentored me, and who honor me with their friendships.
PS Go Navy, Beat Army!!