Through the Gate
Today, my brother Miles graduated from high school. (He’s the officer in the middle. My other brother Charlie is on the left.)
I could not be prouder of him.
He has been a Culver cadet for four years, after having convinced my parents that a military boarding school would be a good idea. He matriculated as a terrified but excited little freshman and walked through the Logansport gates after having cut off his long, flowing hair and replacing it with a sharp buzz cut. I remember walking onto Culver’s campus for the first time being madly impressed with the maturity the Culver cadets possessed, and the confidence with which they carried themselves. I also remember wondering how exactly my sweet little brother would ever become a confident cadet and man like them.
He was fourteen and a boy, considered a “new cadet” until he passed boards in the spring, when he became Private First Class Jones. Flash forward three years, and he is now Lieutenant Jones, a platoon commander. He is an officer now, like those mature, older boys I saw that first visit, and he danced with my mom at Officers’ Figure, a Culver tradition at the Fall and Final Balls for those ranking lieutenant and above. He has played on three of Culver’s hockey teams and served as a practice goalie for their fourth, he has gone on a service trip, and he has mentored local kids and taught them field hockey and math for his senior service project. That scared cadet who first was learning to march and salute has become a remarkable, responsible, and kind young man with scintillating self-confidence (he’s pretty handsome, too).
Today, Miles walked back through the gate, the same gate through which he walked for matriculation. He is being sent out from Culver into the world at large, namely Boston University and all those adventures that will come next. He hugged lifelong friends not “goodbye” but “good luck” and “see you soon.” He made all of us Joneses prouder than he knows.
I wish you the world, Miles, and the infinite blessings that come with it. I can’t wait to see what you do next.