I'm sitting in a hotel in Newark, NJ across from the airport, having dropped my parents off there. They were out east for a couple of events, one of which was the graduation of my son from West Point, United States Military Academy. Kirk graduated on Friday, August 9. "West Point graduates in August?" Yes. They graduate in May, June, August, and December. The one you see mostly is the May graduation. Kirk finished his academics on time in good manner, but he had one military requirement he still needed to pass through, and he did very well, according to his TAC officer, TAC being tactical, which leads in execution, planning, and oversight.
Fourteen graduated within Thayer Hall and in Robinson Auditorium. When I walked into the room about 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony, part of the Army band, a world class group of professional musicians, was playing great songs. That set a great atmosphere, as well as the dozens and dozens of uniformed cadets and army officers. I was walking into the place behind a general and his wife, the former draped in ribbons and medals and pins and strode in a marching gait with cupped hands. It rings true with the soul. At the appointed time, the master of ceremonies, an army major, introduced the graduates and they came marching down the aisle, my son in front, and that march was beautiful to watch.
The commandant gave a terrific speech, a few songs were sung, a prayer was read, the names were called, and they tossed their hats, just like in May. We took pictures in his cadet uniform for the last time. We walked to a great view of the Hudson River at Cullum Hall, one of the two oldest buildings at West Point. Kirk was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army, the two granddads pinning on the bars on his shoulder and myself pinning one on his beret. He'll be heading to Fort Sill in Oklahoma for further training as an officer in field artillery.
We were privileged to have several guests, including Kirk's pastor, Paul Morrison, of Liberty Baptist Church in Fishkill. He prayed. We held a reception at the church property, since their was torrential rain almost all day with the brief exception of the commissioning. That worked out nicely. If you prayed for Kirk, thanks for doing so. We're flying back on Thursday, but he will drive back cross country to be home a few weeks, before heading to his first duty.