Forgive me for being a little sentimental today. It is Citadel Homecoming weekend and a time for memories, reflection, and and times with people I only get to see on such occasions. It's not a "big weekend" for my class, Citadel Class of '71, but many of our classmates will be there and it will be good to see them. We'll also get to make contact with the other classes who shared our four year span---1968, 1969, 1970. It will also be a Wade Hampton High School reunion of sorts since so many Generals did their college time at The Citadel too.
Our son's class, Citadel Class of '00 will be celebrating their 15th reunion this weekend too. I pray to get some time with them as well since they were such an important part of Brian's life. His death in 2011 is still a fresh source of personal pain for us. But, being with his classmates and hearing some of their Brian tales will warm us greatly and remind us of the deep bonds he shared with them during his four years at The Citadel and afterward.
College rings are special to every person who reaches the milestone of graduation. It is especially meaningful to Citadel grads. It was the prize at the end of the journey. Most of us endured the rigid system of The Citadel so we could one day wear the ring. I remember wanting to quit several times during that hard knob year. That's when a senior cadet would show me his ring and encourage me to keep that ring in mind during the daily regimen.
Brian had some of those trials as a cadet and considered dropping out on several occasions. Sitting confinements, walking tours, marching parades, doing PT, hitting the drill field every week, plus the academics made for many tests of his personal strengths and weaknesses. On those occasions he would look at my ring and find the personal stuff to move through whatever obstacles were placed in front of him. Our daughter-in-law Katherine graciously entrusted his ring to us as a symbol of our support during those tough years. Mine is time worn. His is pristine. It is a treasure to us. So, on Homecoming 2015, I took a picture to remind me of the two rings that marked our graduation from the school.
Elizabeth's Clemson ring in on her finger or it would be the third in the picture above. But, it marks that same since of accomplishment and reminds us of her hard work to complete her college education in just over three years. Both rings remind us of the education we were privileged and over-joyed to provide them. We are thankful for their hard work and the shear joy of knowing their accomplishment in graduating from college.
Happy 50th reunion Citadel Class of 1965, 45th Class of 1970, all of the others in between, and 15th for the Class of '00.