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Brookings Institution
Heeding the call to service
Heeding the call to service

Last month I went back to the Naval Academy, my alma mater of 27 years, to attend ship selection night, an annual institution at the academy. Seniors pick from a list of ships, choosing how their careers as naval officers will commence. My son was picking his first ship, just as his older brother did three years ago and as I did 28 years ago (much to the consternation of my father, a naval aviator, I served at sea like my grandfather). The audience at this sacred event was comprised of old guys like me, young men and women about to start their service to the American people, and well-wishers. For those starting out, it is service they have trained for but which still feels somewhat surreal...