USNA 2020 Signing off: Goodbye, farewell, and amen

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.

The last stroll down Stribling Walk

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

Goodbye, goodbye
Walk away it’s time to say goodbye

Bravo Zulu USNA 2020!

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).

10 thoughts on “USNA 2020 Signing off: Goodbye, farewell, and amen

  1. My son, 2021, it’s now a firstie. Living three hours from the yard, we’ve made many trips and have come to fall in love with USNA and Annapolis. The thought of not being able to drive on the yard or hit the midstore is sad and we’re amazed at how fast the journey has gone! Good luck to your “ex” Mid and current officer!


  2. I wish I could adequately express how much I have looked forward to your posts, learned from them, cried over them (think I Day post), and how much I will miss them! Our son will be a high school senior this fall and his dream is USNA. Of course, that all remains to be seen, but should that dream become reality, I have a wealth of information, practical and emotional, to help ME get thru it! I only wish the Smiths could have been there at the same time as us. I think we would have been great friends. God’s speed to Noah in all the new journeys that lie ahead for him, and for your family. If you write about them, I’ll be reading:)
    Becky Rossler


    1. Becky: Thank you for the kind words – I have no doubt we would have been great friends! Best of luck to your son on pursuing his dream. And I will be writing and hope you will keep reading!


  3. Best wishes to your son and to you! I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing. Loved Bravo Zulo video!


    1. Thanks, Kathleen! Making the video was bittersweet, to say the least. I had to wait a few days to show Mid Mom because I knew she would cry through the whole thing.


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