I met a nice pair of buyers yesterday and spent my morning with them today. They are retired Army. At the end of the day, his wife asked if my college ring was a VMI ring. When I replied in the affirmative, he said that he went to the Citadel, class of 1950, if I recall. We commiserated for a few minutes about our mutual experiences, and soon after said our goodbyes. He ended it by saying, “I am glad we are going to be working with someone who has been braced.” For those who aren’t familiar with this term, suffice it to say it is something that a relative few have experienced and it represents the toils, triumph and mutual respect that could only be achieved through hard work, integrity, dedication and sheer stubborn persistence. The VMI/Citadel experience may be no longer, but their tradition and respect persists.
Little things like that are constant reminders of why I suffered for so long at VMI, and why I continue to strive to achieve in all that I do.