Not counting obvious things like the birth of my kids, there have been three events in my life that I count as being both profound and life-changing. In chronological order the first was attending and graduating from West Point. The second was meeting my wife, Avril, which happened at a mixer during my Firstie Year at West Point (which story was told in “My West Point Love Story” on The Days Forward website).
And the third was coming to know Jesus Christ as my Savior which happened because of the witness of a roommate I had at West Point and my wife (which story was told in “From Crossed Rifles to the Cross” also on The Days Forward site). So, in one way or another, West Point has obviously been a hugely significant part of my life. And quite honestly, I doubt that my life would have taken the course it has if not for West Point. I’m sure that with almost every one of the civilian jobs I’ve had, the fact that I graduated from West Point was a major reason why I got the job. In some cases, I doubt I would have even been considered if not for West Point. In addition, people are constantly impressed when they hear that I graduated from West Point. I don’t think that is necessarily because I’m so unimpressive that they’re shocked to hear that even I was able to go there. Rather, I think that for everyday people who do not have a lot of exposure to West Point, they are routinely surprised and impressed when they come across someone who is a graduate. And of course, the education and training we received there were simply the best. While others were earning their college degrees with 120 credit hours, we were earning our diploma with about 180 credit hours. And we didn’t just take science courses, we took courses in all the various scientific disciplines. We graduated with a far greater knowledge base than your average college graduate then or now. In closing though, I think one final point needs to be made. When you attend and graduate from West Point you leave with this sense that you can do anything. Not a Superman kind of feeling, but rather the idea that whatever challenge might be thrown at you, somehow, some way, you will be able to handle it. If you can get through West Point, you can do anything!