The theme for this year is, "A Tradition of Honor;" and, "A Legacy of Valor." There are four main thoughts that permeate this theme. First, there is the notion of tradition; how appropriate for our Class of 1972 Shipmates; just celebrating our 40th anniversary, and our country celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
A tradition is a belief or ritual passed down and still maintained in the present. It stems from the Latin word, tradito, the noun from the verb, tradere, which means, "To hand over, or give for safekeeping." That is part of our mission – our responsibility – it is part of the reason Cost of Freedom, Inc. exists. It is about keeping something dear to us alive for generations to come.
The second main thought is contained in the word honor. Honor, from the Latin, honoris, entails personal strength, courage, and the human spirit. It is a code that is shared by many of our honored guests. It cannot always be expressed in words; but it is a language of esprit all to itself.
A legacy is about the future and it reflects something handed down from an ancestor or predecessor. It evolves from the stories of countless Americans who have done their part to ensure the safety of others and the defense of our country's greatest asset: Freedom. It is further defined through the words, "All gave some and some gave all."
Valor is a word rooted in the Latin, valere, meaning to be strong. It causes one to envision images of courage and fearlessness; but more so, it is accomplished by ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances. At times such as these, valor becomes spontaneous and most who perform acts of valor do not think they are doing anything out of the ordinary. To them, it is what they were trained to do and is what is expected under the circumstances. That is what gives birth to heroes on the battlefield; in competition; and in daily life.
To summarize, Class of 1972, U.S. Naval Academy, 27th Company believes it is imperative to pass down to future generations, a spirit of strength, courage; and respect that is manifested by the guests we have invited to participate in this weekend. Additionally, what they have done must remain alive, despite the loss of life and limb; in order that successive generations act heroically under circumstances that one might consider harmful to themselves or others. This is our charge. This is our legacy.
To our Honored Guests: Thank you for emulating the traditions of honor in your commitment to serving our country and for carrying forward the legacy of valor through the personal sacrifices you have faithfully endured. God Bless you and God Bless America.
— Bob Madden