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Naval Academy class of 2024 graduates with pride after overcoming adversity

Naval Academy Class of 2024 celebrates graduation after overcoming challenges
Naval Academy Class of 2024 celebrates graduation after overcoming challenges 02:03

BALTIMORE -- The Naval Academy celebrated the Class of 2024 at Friday's graduation and commissioning ceremony. 

Despite the challenges faced during their time at the academy, more than 1,000 graduates walked across the stage. 

This class entered the academy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making their journey particularly challenging.

 Many graduates found it hard to express what it took to overcome this adversity, but they credited their peers for their success.

After four long years, the Class of 2024 has made it.

"They say time at the academy is divided into three phases: plebe summer, plebe year, and the rest of it. It got better every step of the way. This is a nice finishing touch," said graduate Clay Cromwell.

This class faced the pandemic upon arrival, and for many, reaching this moment felt surreal. 

"I don't think I've ever seen all of us, one, in one place and two, happier to be in one place. I feel so much love from everyone right now," said graduate Sarah Myers.

The Blue Angels performed to kick off the ceremony, as more than 1,000 graduates celebrated with each other and their loved ones. Many expressed gratitude for the support they received.

"Everybody that was surrounding me, my classmates, our mentors, people that were supporting us from family members to friends to people on and off the yard, that's really what made the difference, and it continues to make the difference as we move forward," Myers said.

"Long four years, but I am extremely grateful for it. I couldn't have done it without their support," Cromwell added.

Cromwell, like many other graduates, is now part of a family tradition of service. 

"My father was a Marine during the Korean War, I was a Marine and now Clay is a Marine as well," said his father, Doug Cromwell. 

The newly commissioned officers will serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delivered the commencement address, ending with "God bless America."

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