The #ArmyNavyGame goes back over 50 years for my family. My family has over 44 relatives who wore the uniform, going back to WWII.
When three of my four uncles would return home around Thanksgiving, usually the game was played. The Marine and Navy man would be in one room, and the Army uncle in another. When one team scored, the requisite pushups in front of the other would happen.
And, of course, the fights between them - I mean full blown FIST FIGHTS - would happen! I thought they didn't like one another.


Just the Army Navy game.
For the record? The only family member to have actually attended a military academy was our son. I thought my uncles attended Navy or West Point when I was young.
When your daughter or son gets accepted into one of this nation's military academies, it's humbling. My late wife was a Harvard grad, I was CHief of Staff to Rep. John Lewis, but when we said "our son is at West Point?"

Mic drop.
My late wife suffered incredible physical pain in what would be the last four years of her life. She was bedridden, in a wheelchair. We lived in the DC region. Even though Army usually lost games, she attended every game at Michie Field.
It took me five hours to get her ready. We had a mattress in the back of the minivan, because she usually couldn't go to the game and listened in the van. Our son would come to the van after the game, and would go to a dinner.
Her smile hid the incredible pain she suffered. It's a five hour drive each way.

Just to see her son.
Her last game was when Army was at Baltimore in 2014. Earlier in the year, we'd reserved four hotel rooms and had a caterer because this was gonna be the year (it wasn't). Worse, her multiple sclerosis just wasn't giving her a break.
We canceled everything. She was at Johns Hopkins, for what would be the last months of her life.

She hung a "Go Army Beat Navy" flag outside her door.

She demanded every nurse and doctor say "Go Army, Beat Navy" before entering her room.
Before she had a risky, eight-hour operation, she asked the team of doctors did anyone graduate from Navy?


How about West Point?


"Good, because I have a son at West Point. Go Army Beat Navy!"
In her room, she had our oldest's Special Olympics trophy, a letter from our daughter, and our son's West Point uniform in front of her. "If I die, aside from your face, that's all I want to see before I go to heaven."

I hung the uniform up in her room.
I have retired as a member of West Point's Admissions and recruiters.*

I am proud we were able to recruit + graduate over 30 Black women from West Point two years ago.

*Until my boss, Pat Locke, the 1st Black woman to graduate by rank from USMA calls me.
I am proud we - Pat Locke, Mack Brooks and I - recruited two of the three Black First Cadets at West Point from the DMV.

Proud we got the newest barracks at West Point named after Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Proud that ARMY is BEATING NAVY today!
Praise to all the other parents of Cadets and Midshipmen. I know how humble, and proud as a parent, you feel today and everyday.

Thanks to all the graduates of USNA and USMA.

Prayers for those graduates who have paid the ultimate price.
FIN/ And a final word from West Points most dedicated fan:

You can follow @JamesMWilliam18.
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