The Naval Academy is steeped in traditions and one of my favorites is finally … finally … within sight. The Herndon Climb! The end of Plebe Year is within reach for the class of 2022!
This will be the second Climb since my son’s class put Plebe Year behind them, but whenever I hear “Plebes No More,” I still get misty-eyed. It was such a catharsis for our family that it still stirs very strong emotions. Induction Day and Plebe Summer smacked us upside the head and we were reeling for a good portion of Plebe Year.
True to form, one of the challenges when putting together this year’s Herndon Podcast was keeping it together. I made the playlist really personal this year, recounting my experience as a Plebe parent and recounting that year brought back all the memories – good, bad, in-between – and that ultimate feeling of relief when that dixie cup got placed atop Herndon. Oh, here’s a player for the podcast in case you missed it:
When I talk about Plebe Year, I get all sorts of responses, which only bolsters my belief that “your experience is the right experience” when it comes to life at the Naval Academy. I’ve heard it said that time at the Naval Academy is broken into three parts – Plebe Summer, Plebe Year and the rest of your time. So far, I have to say that seems accurate.
Before my son received his appointment, my only thought of Herndon was as a Washington, D.C. suburb. Then that monument – and what it represented – became a central focus for our family’s lives. I loved researching the monument’s namesake for my book (“Anchored In Tradition” is available on Amazon) and the journalist in me wants to doubt the validity of his story. But the USNA Dad in me has bought in 100%. I envision Herndon, in full uniform, standing at the helm of his ship at it lurches into the sea, while the people he made sure were safe, watched in awe. Pretty inspiring stuff.
And the Class of 2022 is no doubt inspired! Hard to believe their Plebe Year is almost over. I’m excited for them and excited for their families. And before you know it, we’ll be welcoming the Class of 2023. The cycle continues!
I won’t be there (unfortunately) but plan to find the live stream and watch. Go get ’em, Clas of 2022!
Some Herndon “resources”
There are a lot of countdown timers out there, I use this one, which is set to this year’s Herndon Climb
Did you know that Commander Herndon was an author? His book, “Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon” is still recognized as a hugely important work
Relive last year’s Herndon Climb: