For anybody who’s been following my Darling Daughter’s progress through the convoluted maze that is the U.S. Air Force Academy’s admissions process, the journey is over, the other shoe has dropped, the fat lady has finished her aria, and The Word is Given…
This June, my daughter will take her place in the USAFA Cadet Wing, Class of 2016.
My reaction? Proud, certainly. I knew she had the tools to make the cut, but her poise, patience, and determination continue to astonish me. On top of everything, the selection process was tougher than usual this year—budget cuts mandated a smaller entering class, so fewer candidates received appointments. She had other options, but this is the one she’s chosen to pursue after months of college tours, applications, interviews, soul-searching, prayers, and tears. I left the decision in her hands, as I promised her I would.
I was surprised when she initially expressed interest in the Academy. My wife and I used to joke that our daughter would turn out to be the fighter pilot in the family, and now, here we are. Life’s funny that way, sometimes.
And, yes, it’s a little scary. Joining the military carries the promise that you will likely, at some point, find yourself in harm’s way. We’ve worked hard to shield our children from harm, particularly this one.
We live in a world filled with danger, though, and the idea that she’s any safer in an office building, in a school, or on the back roads of Kansas has proven to be a sad illusion. Bright, courageous, self-sacrificing young people like her preserve the measure of freedom we all enjoy, and now she’s willing to take her turn on the ramparts. Once again, I’m proud, and I’m immensely thankful and privileged to be her father.
She’s got a challenging road ahead, but she’s better prepared for it than I was at her age, and she will be stronger and richer for the challenge. I have no doubt she will succeed, with style, as she would succeed anywhere.
Godspeed, my Darling Daughter.