Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Four Years by the Bay" revisited

United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD 21402
GPS: 38.982070, -76.483983

This is a special place for us.
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

What makes it special, begins on a day in late June ...
Initiation Day

... and ends four years later on a day in May. For us it was May 26, 1999.

Those "Four Years by the Bay" are a grueling physical and mental building experience for the midshipmen, not to be appreciated for some period of years after. But they are four years of interesting, fun experiences for the parents. We parents have a different set of memories of those years.

The class of '99 had the big reunion tent at the stadium for today and that was the scene of the action all day. Adam, Amy, and the boys left the hotel before us and went to the reunion tent for pre–game activities.
Michelle and I went later to the stadium. We haven't been there since graduation day fifteen years ago.
Navy - Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

I'm not an expert on football stadiums, so I won't throw out statistics to try to prove this is the biggest and best stadium ever built; it's not. But today, just like every other time I've entered this place, I got a lump in my throat as I read the names of the places where so much bravery was shown and so much blood was spilled for this country. No other stadium can do that.
Thank you for your service

It was a beautiful day for football and there was a football game but few paid attention. Navy beat San Jose State 41-31.
The boys in their Navy logo gear and
Grandma in her sling

We joined up at the reunion tent after the football game but we were 5th wheels at the party. The handsome young ladies and gentlemen who had thrown their caps in the air fifteen years ago are now middle–aged folks dragging a string of kids behind them. They were intent on trading life stories and not paying attention to us aging parents. Our job was to corral the kids and we were happy to do that.

Classmates and friends for life
Dan, Adam, Brian

The next generation
Ben, Ella, Joshua, Andrew

This evening we changed hotels; relocating close to Baltimore-Washington International Airport in preparation for the morning departure for Denver. This adventure is about over.
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