Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the United States Military Academy at West Point. The purpose of the trip was a football game. Army was playing Northwestern. It was my second trip to West Point. The first time I was there to see Army play Iowa State, and the game had significance for me. This trip, the game was secondary. I was interested in taking in the pageantry.
Prior to the game, while eating lunch before entering the stadium, we had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with one of the cadets. There was a young man, who was in the same uniform that most cadets were wearing. Grey slacks, white shirt, and white cap. This cadet, however, had a purple sash over his belt, and we were curious as to what that meant, so we stopped him to ask. In a world where we’ve grown accustomed to teenagers and young adults who will ignore you, or give terse answers to questions, this young man stopped to visit with us for a few minutes. The purple sash indicated that he was a senior. He was from near Leavenworth, KS. We learned about his plans when he finished the academy and where he hoped to be stationed.
For me it was a refreshing change. The night before, we had been at a football game at the University of Connecticut and the unruly fans dampened my spirits somewhat. After meeting this young man on Saturday, I felt good again.