I will never forget my first US Navy Commissioning Ceremony. After graduating from college, instead of going on to party with a group of their peers, a group of men & women, younger than me, marched over to their ROTC house, raised their right hand and where commissioned into the US Navy.
Personally, I had been preparing for this day since I first met my husband (then boyfriend). I knew it was right around the corner. But what ever expectations I had where completely blown out of the water. There are many things that I will never forget about that day, but one thing in particular are the words of their keynote speaker. He said “your lives are blank checks for the American people.” The simplicity, mater of fact and deep meaning of those words will always stay with me. As well as, the willingness and egresses of everyone that stood up on that stage. Never in my life have I felt so proud. I watched all of them stand proud, shoulders back as they took the oath and gave their first salute. I wish that every American could witness their a US Navy Commissioning Ceremony.
As always, I had a camera in my hand. I quietly snapped photos as my husband and his friends got sword in. I have always cherished this images, but over time I have grown a deeper appreciation for them. They serve as a constant reminder to me, of the men and women who serve our country and their willingness to sacrifice. Many of their peers spent the afternoon partying and celebrating their accomplishments while these few raised their hands and swore to protect our country by any means necessary. The meaning of that oath will never be lost on me.
For those of you reading this that haven’t witnessed a military commissioning ceremony before here is a general over view of what happens. Each midshipman selects someone to read the oath to them. In my husbands case he selected his father. The midshipman raises his hand and repeats the oath back to whoever is swearing them in. Then two people, typically family members, pin their shoulder boards on the them. Next they receive their first salute as a Navy officer. Philip asked his friend to be his first salute. Next the stand at attention. Each midshipmen takes their oath independently.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Maine Maritime Academy ROTC US Navy Commissioning Ceremony.