And so, after a four year roller coaster that started with a jarring I Day experience, included everything from the thrill of Herndon to a sprint football championship to a string of panic-inducing crises, and ended with a pandemic that obliterated a week of celebrations four years in the making, it’s over. He is no longer My Kid The Mid.
Noah C. Smith is an ensign in the United States Navy.
Hats off and Bravo Zulu to the Academy leadership who made the pivot from a fully virtual commissioning to a series of five small cohort events that provided the necessary respectful closure to the Class of 2020’s four years on the Severn, capped by a tremendous virtual event on 22 May (all sorts of photos available here).
Hats off to the new Ensigns and 2nd Lt. who rode this whirlwind faithfully until the end.
And hats off to my fellow parents. We’ve had a number of conversations on Facebook recently and many of them came back to the fact that other parents just don’t understand. I have friends who have kids who graduated virtually, too. But it’s just not the same. I won’t even try to explain it, but it’s just not the same. Yet, much like our sons and daughters lived up to their class motto – “We shall find a way or make one” – we, too, have found a way.
Our children will now scatter to the Four Winds, opening the next chapter of their lives, serving our country on ships, in planes, on submarines, in cyberspace, and countless other places. Us parents? I suspect we will enjoy that ride, too, but we will often harken back to those four years in Annapolis.
To my fellow parents, thank you doesn’t seem enough. As a writer, I find myself in the awkward situation of not having the right words. So I’ll turn to a song by Plankeye and a few fleeting images.
“Now all that’s left
Pictures on the walls
Memories and stories that are told
The more often told the bigger they get
Create a legacy lest we forget
Walk away it’s time to say goodbye“
And, of course, continue to join me in praying for the men and women of the USNA Class of 2020 (you can find the text for it here and the video is below).