Non Sibi Sed Patriae
Yesterday, the United States Navy received a new class of officers graduating from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It’s the first time in my adult life that midshipmen weren’t graduating into a war in Afghanistan or Iraq. As a child, I went to the Naval Academy on several occasions with the Boy Scouts prior to September 11, when conflict seemed a distant possibility. I remember being astonished by the size of the mess hall. I remember them playing us scenes from ‘Top Gun’ to get us thinking the Navy was all about Tomcats and not at all about aircraft carrier maintenance. I remember the aging but storied facilities and a culture rooted in tradition and discipline. I remember earning my ‘Atomic Energy’ merit badge there, complete with a trip to an active reactor used to train nuclear submariners. Years later, I revisited Annapolis as an undergraduate from the nearby University of Maryland. When the midshipmen graduate, the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, take the skies over Annapolis. Folks from all across Maryland come to line the banks of the Severn River as the F/A-18 Super Hornets scream up and down the waterway with wings just meters apart. Although the cynic in me contemplated the cost of operating these machines of war and calculated the carbon footprint of this celebratory display, the Boy Scout aged child in me marveled at these spectacularly engineered aircraft and the skilled aviators piloting them
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