Outside of Leamy Hall there is a small statue that stands as a tribute to Coast Guard Cadets’ parents. I pass the statue daily, and rarely think of the meaning behind it. However, with Parents’ Weekend just around the corner, it’s hard not to think of my parents and what they did to make me the man I am today. My father, who is a 1978 graduate of the Naval Academy, influenced me early on with military lore. I grew up not far from Annapolis, Maryland, so I spent a lot of fall weekends on the grounds of the Naval Academy at football games. I grew fond of the military uniforms and tradition that seemed embedded in Annapolis. As I expressed more interest in the military my parents decided it would only be fair that I saw all the military academies. They decided that by seeing the Coast Guard Academy, we could knock out two birds with one stone, giving me the grand experience of visiting New England while seeing an academy. Being from Virginia, I had never really ventured north of New York City and New England seemed like a foreign nation to me. However, I remember after stepping foot on the campus the first time I had a feeling of purpose, passion, and pride; feelings similar to the ones I got when at the Naval Academy but somehow stronger. I knew that those who had come to the Academy were doing something with their lives, making a difference in the world that many others can’t ever say they did. In that instance I knew I wanted to go to the Coast Guard Academy. I think my dad was a little shocked when I told him I wanted to go to New London instead of his alma mater, but nonetheless he supported me thoroughly in the application process.
During Swab Summer I felt I was reliving all the horror stories he had told me about Annapolis, and now when we get together we laugh and joke about how life at the academies seems stopped in time, the same that it is today as it was almost 40 years ago. While my dad and I take all the horrors we experienced at are respective academies as badges of honor, I think my mom still thinks the Academy is trying to kill me, sending “care packages” almost weekly. Still I can honestly say that without my parents taking me up to the Academy five years ago this fall I would have never found out about this place. And now that I’m here, my parents’ encouragement and the pride they express in me is all the motivation I need to do my absolute best. It’s parents like mine that make that statue outside Leamy stand tall, and I thank God that I have them.
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