As dramatic as the title sounds, it’s true.

During our vacation last month, my husband and I decided to finally go to the Naval Academy to tour. I’ve never been to a military academy, so I had no idea what to expect when we got there. Sure I expected to see some historical artifacts from the United States Navy and get to see some of the notable places that people who have visited previously have noted. However, I never expected to have a little lesson about sacrifice while there.

In honor of memorial day, I thought I would share some of the thoughts I had during and after our tour of the Naval Academy.

What Touring the Naval Academy Taught Me About Sacrifice Click To Tweet

Our tour guide was wonderful and gave us a very thorough glimpse of what the midshipmen (students in the Naval Academy) go through on a daily basis. She showed us their facilities, where they slept, and even where they often ate their meals. On the surface, it seems like almost any other college campus in the United States with dorms, dinning services, and facilities for athletic development. Upon closer inspection as the tour guide informs you what their day-to-day responsibilities look like and what’s expected of them as midshipmen, you realize very quickly that there’s more to their role in the academy than just being college students.

Students are required to participate in something called Plebe Summer, which requires them to spend the summer training and preparing for the upcoming school year.

All students are required to participate in a sport in addition to making sure that they are fulfilling the athletic requirements outside of sports hours.

All students are required to be able to hold their breath under water for a certain amount of time and swim a certain number of laps before they can graduate.

Additionally, all students are asked to dive from the highest point of the diving board in the swimming facility, which is equal to the height of the deck of a US Navy ship. This is meant to simulate if they had to jump ship.

Students are not allowed to enter the academy if they are married or have anyone who might be depending on them, financially.

Students are required to be in good academic standing throughout.

Lastly, students are required to serve in the navy once they graduate the Naval Academy.

These students, some of them as young as seventeen, all enter into this academy and endure all of the intense training with the intent of serving our country. They willingly apply to this program and are committed to the requirements asked of them as students in the academy because they desire to serve our country.

Let that sink in for a moment.

They apply for one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the country, competing against thousands of applicants, knowing that at the end of the their four years at the academy they will be serving our country as naval officers.

They enter the school with the intent of committing to years of service.


Sacrifice isn’t always as simple as giving up the last slice of pizza (although, let’s be real – that can be a challenge at times).

Sometimes sacrifice means giving up things for people who may not even really appreciate it.

Although this sounds far-fetched, it reminds me of the sacrifice of Jesus, who gave everything, knowing that there’s a chance that not everyone would accept Him into their hearts. Yet He still went, willingly to the cross with each and everyone one of us in mind.

Similarly, often times these men and women go into this field, sacrificing their lives for people they don’t even know. These individuals have sacrificed everything – leaving family members at home and the life they once knew, to serve our country and that’s truly admirable.

I have so much respect for these young men and women, who are willingly sacrificing years of their life to serve and protect our country.

Knowing this honestly increased the amount of respect that I have for people in the military. While I’m the wife of a veteran and have heard stories from family members who have served in the military, it was honestly humbling to me to see how much these students sacrifice in school, so they are physically and mentally prepared to sacrifice for their country when they leave.

Did you know?

  • Did you know that Jimmy Carter was in the Naval Academy?
  • Did you know that for the longest time, the Naval Academy had the largest dorms in the world?
  • Did you know that in the Naval Academy, they must keep their rooms clean and organized at all times? They’re sometimes even subjected to “white glove checks” which check for dust and other signs that a place has not been cleaned.
  • The tall, pillar-looking statue with a pyramid shape on the top that was picture a few shots ago? Apparently at the end of Plebe Summer, students are required to climb the pillar that is covered in lard and stick a hat on top to signify the end of their plebe duties and their official acceptance as midshipmen.
Did you know that Jimmy Carter was in the Naval Academy? Click To Tweet

Do you have any relatives in the military? If so, what were some of the stories they told you of their time in service?

Check out more posts from our travels in Annapolis and more by clicking here!

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