13 years ago today I graduated college and was commissioned as a brand new 2LT in the US Army. I graduated from SUNY Potsdam while taking my ROTC training at Clarkson University. At the time, I had no idea what the future had in store for me. I was excited to finish college, have a secure job, and serve my country.
I remember waking up early that morning. My parents were coming in to town (a long drive from Maine) to see me graduate and receive my commission. I was excited to see them. We had a nice small commissioning ceremony at SUNY Potsdam where we my parents “pinned” on my gold bars. I was so proud.
In addition, my National Guard First Sergeant rendered my first salute and I awarded him a silver dollar, as with Army tradition.
I spent the afternoon with my parents, some of my ROTC peers, and my fraternity brothers. We went out to lunch, spent a few hours together socializing, and then I drove off to my first duty assignment: Fort Lee, Virginia.
I experienced so many emotions that day. I was excited about “finally” being an officer, sad to leave all my friends behind at college, and unsure about what the future had in store for me. Looking back, I was young, naive and very inexperienced (green). It’s hard to believe how far I’ve come during the past 13 years.
Our lives are nothing more than a series of moments. This is one of the most “special” moments that I will never forget.