Jordan was ranked 19th academically of all the graduating seniors and was also one of only 18 to make the Superintendent's List -- meaning he was in the top 10% academically, athletically and militarily. (Yes, they are graded and ranked in all three areas!) Basically, he rocks. And so does my USAFA graduate! Matt threw up for the last time at 5 a.m. and left for Jordan's graduation an hour later, achy flu and sleepless night and all. He said he wouldn't have missed it for the world.
One of the unplanned perks of our Colorado trip was running into so many of Matt's old buddies. The most fun one was seeing Matt's freshman roommate when we walked into the stadium for graduation. Forrest is stationed in Germany right now, so that was definitely a surprise!
|Photo by the Associated Press.|
Every four years, the president speaks at USAFA's graduation and then personally congratulates each graduate. I'm far from being a fan of Barack Obama, but I have so much respect for the office that he holds. It was really neat to be in the presence of the man who leads our beautiful country.
|Picture on the right by the Associated Press.|
The seniors who are ranked in the top 100 academically receive their diplomas first, in order of rank. Then, Squadron 1 goes in alphabetically order, then Squadron 2, and so forth, all the way until Squadron 40. And oh, you should hear the cheers when Squadron 40 is announced. All that name reading can get a little... long. Just ask Jakey.
After the last graduate walks across the stage, the seniors can hardly contain their excitement. They know it's any minute now! The entire graduating class stands and repeats the Oath of Office and then claps along anxiously as the Air Force fight song is played. Then come the signal and the words, "Class of 2012, Dismissed!" In that perfectly-orchestrated instant, the graduates toss their hats into the air as the Thunderbirds roar overhead.
It's an iconic moment that always yields an iconic picture. This year's picture landed on the front page of the New York Times. And check out the star! We were pretty stoked.
|Photo by the New York Times.|
They basked in the moment for awhile and then made their way back up the stands to celebrate with the families. It was the sweetest thing when Melissa congratulated Jordan. She was one proud mama.
Normally the Thunderbirds show commences with the hat toss and continues for nearly an hour. This time, though, the air space had to be clear for about 20 minutes while President Obama took off. Christian kept us entertained while we waited. You wouldn't believe the number of compliments he got on that shirt.
At last, the show began! The video screen featured a live feed of the cockpits as the Thunderbirds performed their stunts. It was awesome, and the little boys were in heaven.
We let the stands clear a bit and then took our pictures. My family is BFFs with Jordan's (they're the ones Matt and I stay with like every other weekend), so it was extra special to support Jordan all together. We're all so proud of him!
Sisters and our former cadets:
Plus a future cadet:
And then it was all over -- again. Seeing the Air Force Academy in the rear view mirror is always bittersweet.
But there was really no time to think about that with a wedding in just three days! The party continues next!