side note: I've been playing around with the settings on Paint.Net (free version of Photoshop) and trying to edit my pictures, what do you think so far?
Part of my trip 'down South' included a much-anticipated visit to Annapolis, Maryland and the United States Naval Academy. We were originally going to go the last time I was down, but a nasty cold kept me in bed for most of that trip. This time, feeling healthy and blessed with
This place was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G
The amount of discipline and dedication that goes into being in the Navy was unreal. I completely admire and respect anyone who fights for their country, but this just took it to a whole new level for me.
Attending the Academy is free, but you do have to sign a contract and do 5 years of service once you graduate. The "midshipmen" (students) are in full-uniform 24/7 and working hard for the whole 4 years. Most don't even make it home for holidays as they are usually at sea training. The only "free time" they have is on Saturdays from noon - midnight. That's it. They have strict curfews enforced and rules that must be followed at all times.
part of the Naval Academy Harbor
We took a 2-hour guided tour of the Academy (which I highly recommend) during which our very knowledgeable tour guide taught us about the rich history of the school.
The highest ranking Admirals, Corporals and other officials live on the actual Academy grounds in "Admiral's Row". A very idyllic and beautiful street that weaves itself around the base.
One of the most touching places for me was Memorial Hall. Located at the back of the dormitories/mess hall is a large marble hall dedicated to all current and past students of the Academy who have been killed in the line of duty. Their names are all engraved on the walls, along with which conflict they were killed in going back to the mid 1800's. By far the largest "section" is WW2 - closely followed by Vietnam.
Although the bulk of our day was spent at the Naval Academy, the city of Annapolis itself is also not to be missed. There is a busy but charming waterfront area with cute shops and an abundance of restaurants and cafe's overlooking the water. Definitely a great place for a warm summer evening.
All-in-all, Annapolis was a place I was looking forward to seeing and it definitely lived up to my expectations!