Peters Perspective - Petaluma 360
May 6, 2013
Last week, I had the privilege to attend the Navy SEAL graduation ceremonies at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, California. It was one of the high points of my life. At the invitation of Admiral Ray Smith, USN Retired, former SEAL commander, I witnessed a momentous rite of passage for some of our country’s future heroes. The event was marked, for me, by the personal connections I observed between the commanding officers and the newest members of this great branch of America’s military. It was at this heart-felt occasion that I picked up the most valuable souvenir of my trip—something which required exactly no room in my luggage to be able to bring home with me.
Commander Jay Hennessey, USN, was one of many outstanding speakers at the graduation. He spoke of courage and determination in the face of difficulties, a topic I will return to frequently in the near future. He used a phrase which struck me and stayed with me, and I want to share it with you. His phrase, which was my valuable souvenir, went like this:
“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
How profound. In six words, Cdr. Hennessey distilled an essential fact about trauma, hardship, resilience, and reinvention—other topics I will also be returning to—in language that cuts to the core of what I believe to be the common experience in our culture today. I call this common experience “hidden trauma”.
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