"There are no secrets to success. It is a matter of preparation, hard work and learning from failure"
General Colin L. Powell
As I sat here this past evening I started looking back over the past 18 years that led up to this moment…so many memories…memories that I treasure…hopefully these bring back some smiles for you as you sit read this…
You wont remember these…but I do…I remember the hour you were born; your first steps; the countless military moves; California and Bakers Square in the convertible; roller hockey; skiing and winter sports; snowed in at Lake Tahoe; tractor towing in the snow at Fort Bragg; Cub Scouts; rocket launches at work; swimming in the unit pool on post; haircuts on Saturday mornings; fireworks; the dogs; Luther the rabbit; the 3 wheeler; the 4 wheelers; the beach trips; new bikes in West Virginia; skateboarding out by the pool; learning to drive the cars as a 10 year old; Holy Cross; watching Monster Garage on Monday nights; Rusty, Renegade, Ranger and Sherman; Snowboarding; Ian’s Superman at Gunstock…these are all moments that made me proud and happy to your Dad.
Others inluded your academics; the first time I saw you play lacrosse; coaching you in soccer and hockey…going undefeated in the season at the Ice Park; your last High School Lacrosse Game…..the All Star Game…your Eagle Scout Ceremony…traveling to Ferrum College…moments that I will never forget…and that I will forever hold close to me.
Something that was given to me by my grandparents the day I graduated and hopefully you will pass this on…I think you will understand its meaning and its significance…as you know that your Great-grandfather was a fisherman and this story was very close to him and Nana…and to me
Many years ago, fishermen from the town of Boston would pray, "Keep me, oh God for my boat is so small, and the ocean is so wide" before launching their boats into the Atlantic. Their prayer reflected two things that they had experienced in their lives as fishermen…that each day was filled with uncertainties and that they were dependent upon God to bless their labors.
As you are graduating from Colonial Forge there is a parallel (ask Dakota what that means!) that can be made between you my son and these fishermen…you stand on the shore ready to launch your boat into the ocean of life. And like the fishermen of Boston you face an uncertain future.
You do not know what you will confront each day, nor the dangers and temptations that lurk in your paths. You do not know whether you will achieve success or experience failure…but I can tell you that you will experience both. You do not know what disappointments you will be called upon to bear…but above all there is endless opportunity that now lies before you!
As you walk across the stage and take it all in you will soon ask…”what will happen now?
As your Dad I know you are filled with excitement and optimism, looking forward to the future…a future full of anticipation…expecting to achieve success and to live a happy life. This was most likely the same case with the fishermen that my grandparents told me about. These men learned from experience that life is filled with uncertainty and difficulties…and that to be successful you have to be able to persevere (again…ask Dakota!)
Now my son you will also face some disappointments and you will be given some great opportunities that will lead to great experiences…and you will be required to continually learn from these experiences…and I know you are smart enough to know this…and smart enough to understand.
I love you Jake…and I have never been more proud of you then I am right now…you have so much to give…and I know you will make great contributions in a world that will need it!
Well done my Son!