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Fierce Lives Matter – chartwell west

Fierce Lives Matter chartwell west


In protest, a few of us wore luau shirts under our uniform jackets so that the ridiculous pastel flowery patterns would muddy up the pure black sea of midshipmen coats at the end of the stadium.  After halftime, a giant banner unfurled from the deck above us with the words “Free 19” on it-an effort to gain our freedom.  My roommate and I were from New Jersey and this was Giants stadium.  This lock down was going to cost us a lot of fun. So we protested.  This was our cause.  Beer.  And women.  And no one cared that a bunch of white guys from Annapolis were disrespecting the uniform in service to missing out on partying.  In fact, it started a tradition.  Free 19 is a phrase that lives on to this day at Annapolis....

One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned at Annapolis was learning the nuance of how not to conform amidst an overwhelming sea of conformity.  And learning it meant that I got it wrong a lot more than I got it right. And like those West Point cadets, I took some lumps for it along the way. But it was worth it. There’s some heavy decorations and more than a half dozen war time deployments on those idiots in the luau shirts above.  Much of it was empowered by one indomitable notion.  Don’t tell me I can’t.  We were misfits and failures.  And people told us in no uncertain terms we weren’t fit to lead.  But that streak of defiance, the very one that drove us to places others wouldn’t go, is an important one. The trajectory of mankind has pivoted on that fierce sentiment.  It always has.  It always will.

So, if you’re going to break that rule, and I want to be clear, it’s a good rule, that’s how you do it.  Go be one of the 17 black women on the planet that graduated from West Point this year.  And in a moment of pride and realization of all you’ve been through to get to that moment,  raise your right fist.  Because the world told you and your brothers and sisters that you couldn’t accomplish what you just did.  And you said, don’t tell me I can’t.  Because black lives do matter.  Because they can be fierce lives.  And fierce lives move us.  The separation of politics and the military will survive it. So for the vocally outraged I’ll say this.  Patch up your angry wounds and move on. Everything is going to be all right.

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Fierce lives do matter. 

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