I recently attended the graduation of one U.S. Coast Guard Boot Camp class, in which our grandson was a part. Being retired military myself, I had looked forward to this day for months, even back to a time when he was working hard to get himself physically prepared at home in North Carolina, for the rigors of the training. Which, I learned, was a lot tougher than he expected. But all that was put behind the proud young men and women standing at attention before me and others, seated nearby.
Leaders made introductions and speeches, and afterwards it was time to present the coveted Certificates of Graduation to the 80-plus “Coasties” standing in formation.
And then it was over and family members like me moved quickly to shake hands, hug and generally say we too felt pride in the accomplishments made by these fine men and women. Within a few days each of the graduates would be off to their first assignment “in the fleet.” But first, a handshake and hug.