My Kodak Moment: A Road Less Traveled
July 7, 1981.
Annapolis Maryland. U.S. Naval Academy Induction Day for the Class of 1985.
Late afternoon, and I'm standing with about 1500 other young men and women. Some of them have their family standing off in the distance watching this Induction Ceremony. I'm 1200 miles from my Louisiana home and I don't yet know another person in this mass of white uniformed people, and there aren't any relatives watching from a distance. I'm not even 18 yet and until now have never been anywhere longer than a night without a family member.
But me and the rest of this group are about to embark on a really special journey. There are ones like us up on the Hudson, out in Colorado, up in Connecticut, ones that didn't choose the normal college life, but chose one of the service academies. For some it's a family tradition, generations have proceeded them and they're carrying the flag onward. For others like me, military service is just a natural part of your heritage, I'll be the first officer, my dad was Army enlisted, his brother Navy enlisted. I remember the uniforms they wore when I was a young pup.
But the 1500 of us chose that day to take the oath, to join the Navy, to defend our country against enemies foreign and domestic, and most of us never looked back on that day with a second of regret.
My personal little group, the mids assigned to 4th Company, we started with 39 guys and we finished May 22, 1985 with 30. Between July 7, 1981 and May 22, 1985, we got to know each other very well. I can still tell you the home town of every one of my group, the names and places still roll off the tongue after 25 years. When our paths cross, it's like no time has passed. Physically, we've grayed, we've lost hair, we've gained around the middle, but inside the kinship, the brotherhood we shared is still strongly there.
That decision to take the oath that day, everything else in my life falls into place from that moment, the choice to take up that road rather than others. Two years later I met Liz and we married 10 days after I graduated. Who knew decades later we'd be working in real estate?
I've traveled to many places during my Navy service, learned much, witnessed much and gained more than I can count. Certain smells still take me back years in an instant to a different place and way of life, and I wouldn't trade any of it away for any amount of money.
So this picture, it's my Kodak moment. The day I set my foot on a different road to follow, and led me to where I am today. I'm just glad someone took the picture!
Serving today, just in a different way!
Bill of Liz and Bill, aka BLiz
This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain 'Kodak Moments' contest. I have the chance to win the KODAK EASYSHARE M580 Digital Camera
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