There are times, usually when I read, when I reflect on the struggles through which our nation fought, from the formative Revolution, to the counter-Revolutionary trajectories and expansionist social ideologies of the last century.  In our embrace of capitalism, tempered by government-regulated capitalism, to our current dangerous flirtation with socialism, there has always… literally always… been one constant in our American Drama.

The Soldier.

The solider has stood post through the darkest winters and enjoyed the bask of the hero welcome in spring.  He has been tormented by a disgruntled populous, and has had that same populous huddle behind him when the wolf growled at the door.

The solider took an oath, and has endeavored to live up to that oath.  We are the beneficiaries of that soldier’s solemn sacrifice.

This reverence for the American warrior ethos found fertile ground in the mind of our younger daughter, Chaney, as she was growing up.

She came to understand the honorable patriotism of public service, and years ago told us that her dream was to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point.  

She has always been “connected” to our nation’s warriors.  Growing up a “daughter of Artemis” she shot, she hunted, and she looked in awe at our instructors… men and women who had gone in harm’s way for a cause that transcended their own safety and security.

She also thrived in her academic environment at the Orange County School of Performing Arts, probably the single most “un-militant” school in Orange County.  Her classical voice became more mature and brilliant each year.

Still, her patriotism was fierce.  She rose through the ranks of the OCSD Explorer program, competed again and again in team tactics and began to learn the trials of leadership.

It was leadership that really motivated her.

MAJ (CA) Sirna, a West Point graduate himself, a sitting judge, and a fellow JAG officer I serve with, offered to be her field force advisor.  He called her up to his courtroom and gave her a formal interview.  Sirna allowed Sandy and me to watch the interview, but we were under strict orders not to intervene.  

“Why do you want to go to West Point?”

“Sir, I understand that the world is a dangerous place and our nation will need warriors to protect us in the future, just as we have needed warriors to protect us in the past.  I want to lead these brave soldiers in battle, and I want to get the best training I possibly can to be an effective leader, for both my soldiers, as well as my country.  West Point is the place, where I can honestly see, that mints leaders.”

Wow… that was our daughter!

Last Saturday night Chaney received a package in the mail.  She has received her official appointment to West Point, and will be starting the academy next fall.  (Actually, she starts July 1st in a program that all plebes go through called “Beast”.)

Sandy and I are unbelievably proud of Chaney.  But, Chaney is a product of many people who have encouraged and inspired her.

Chaney… stand your post, and protect us.  Our nation is that much stronger for the course and sacrifice upon which you are about to embark.

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