This week has been a whirlwind. We've been so busy bouncing from event to event that I don't even know if it's hit you yet that you're graduating. But today is the long-awaited day. Today, the day you go from Cadet to "Old Grad" and join the Long Gray Line is finally here. Your path to this point hasn't always been easy. Heck, your first day here they didn't even know if you were going to parade because of the rain. But the clouds broke at the last minute and the sun shone brightly on you and your class. (I had to mention it, obviously, since no one else has yet). This moment on R-Day has defined your class. It's in your crest and everyone mentions it in their speeches, usually. But it also defines who you have become.
While I may not have been around for the beginning of your journey, over the last three years I have watched you grow and mature into the kind of leader that I strive to be. You are humble, kind, and the most honorable person I've ever met. I know that if called to do so you would gladly give up your life for that of the person on your right or left. You have weathered many a storm to get to this point and boy has the sun shone this week for the Class of 2018.
All week, people have asked me what I've been more excited about graduation or our wedding day. In just a few short days we will become husband and wife and it is honestly my greatest honor and accomplishment to get to marry you. But while I look forward to our wedding day with much excitement, if we're being honest, I am more excited about your graduation. You have worked SO hard the last four years. From a Plebe who wasn't sure they were going to stick around to a Snowboard Instructor and club member, an Honor Representative, Team leader. You continuously touch the lives of the people around you with equal parts duty and laughter. You have embodied and internalized the motto of "Duty, Honor, and Country" in the best way possible and I know that you will live it every day like you are still at the Academy.
There is not much more to say other than how proud we all are of you. I know this week was not exactly perfect and it's hard to be happy and celebrate when you are mourning but the last day and a half have shown me and the world exactly what kind of an officer you are going to be. Your selflessness and grace in the face of uncertainty is something we all aspire to be. You are truly one of a kind so reach for the stars, babe.
I could ramble on for hours and hours about you, I'm sure, but I'll leave you with one final thought. I cannot wait to see how far you go. You will truly touch and mold and change the lives of those who serve under you and I am honored to be by your side throughout everything life has to throw at us. I love you so stinking much and I can't wait to kiss the Army's newest Second Lieutenant! Congratulations Justin and may God bless you and the rest of the Class of 2018 as you go your separate ways this afternoon.