In The Pilot for May 23, Paul Lehto cited an article by Wall Street Journal writer William McGurn who compared the graduating ceremonies at Benedictine College in Kansas and Harvard University.
I had an interesting experience at my 50th reunion at Harvard when I was asked to address the graduating ROTC men and women. There were about 20 in the group, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. They were to serve in high-tech slots where their education could be put to good use.
I spoke of their coming assignments as officers and urged them always to think of those whom they would lead. I recalled my year of ROTC training before I volunteered for the Infantry and went to Europe.
I talked of landing on D-day, being promoted quickly three times as a non-commissioned officer as we fought in Normandy before I was given one of the first battlefield commissions in my division. I spoke of what leadership meant to me.
After the ceremony, with no president in sight or any of the faculty, my wife and I were approached by three people. The father wore the uniform of an Air Force colonel, the Mother wore the expression of a proud mother, and the son was a brand new second lieutenant in the Air Force.
They rather hesitantly asked if they could talk with me, and I assured them they certainly could. The father said they had been talking about my speech and had something to say. With that, the young man spoke up and said, "That is the first inspirational thing I have heard at Harvard in four years, and we want you to know how grateful we are."
Donald Van Roosen
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