As a frame of reference, we began our cadet life about six weeks after the Kent State tragedy, one of the lowest points of popularity for our Armed Forces in history. I came to Colorado Springs from the Bronx, and missed being at Woodstock in ‘69 simply because the roads were closed. Had the ticket and everything, and some of my high school friends were in the foldout last page of the Life magazine special Woodstock edition. I didn’t see myself as separating from the mainstream by choosing to attend the Academy; it was simply something I chose to do.
One snowy Saturday afternoon, I was on one of our big silver buses with the rest of the swim team going to a meet at Colorado College. As we were stopped at a corner, I saw a girl, no more than twelve, holding her little brothers’ hand, waiting to cross. They were about the same age as my sister and youngest brother, and I waived and smiled at her, admittedly feeling homesick. She made eye contact, and without a smile, held up her hand and flipped me the bird! I knew right then that life was to be even more different than I had already found it to be. You know what though? I am still glad I was on that bus.