It was 1987, and this picture was taken at the Annapolis Naval Academy. My oldest brother Len was graduating, and we traveled as a family to celebrate, but missed Nick who was serving in the Navy in Scotland.
It was a trip that felt like once in a lifetime experience. There was an incredible sense of dedication, commitment, discipline, and respect. The love for our Country by these young men and women is something that can bring me to tears still, every time I sing the National Anthem. I reflect back on this trip in 1987, and I can feel the energy, the excitement the feelings of pride and deep respect for Len and holding what an honor it was to be together as a family.
Len’s Naval Academy experience is something I have always been proud of. It was not uncommon to share with others that my brother was a USNA graduate class of 1987, and they would remark on what an accomplishment that is.
Len was killed in a car accident in 2012, and we heard from so many of the young men and women that he mentored in his years in the Navy. They are precious stories, and they remind me that the Naval Academy is a place where Len developed his leadership skills, and he impacted many lives for good in his many years of service in the United States Navy.
Tonight I am anticipating another adventure. The once in a lifetime experience is about to happen again in a different way. This time I will be celebrating with my nephew, Andrew. Andrew follows in the footsteps of his Dad Nick and his Uncle Len. Len and Nick both served the United States Navy, and now Andrew is creating his own legacy in the United States Navy. My brother Len was a Nuclear Submarine guy, and it looks like Andrew will also be. I am so proud of how my Nephew has given his all, applied himself, excelled and now will journey on a similar path, but in his own way, of growing, leading, mentoring and impacting lives in the United States Navy.
Andrew started the Naval Academy 4 years ago with commitment, passion, and vision. There has been a transformation at many levels. Many of these transformations are only for Andrew to share as his story unfolds.
I am eager to spend time together as a family. We will miss Len and my Dad in almost every space, and we have so much to celebrate and feel sincere gratitude for.
I am proud of Andrew in ways I can not yet put words to. There will be tears, laughter, conversation, and many ways to celebrate. Andrew is one of 1193 in the graduating class of 2019. He has transformed from a young lad to a brave soul who will protect our country. Bless you, for your courage, commitment, and growing faith. I love you with my whole heart and am so proud to be your aunt. Let graduation week begin!
Blessed Be His Name