On Sunday, Colin Sorkin Barry will graduate from Dartmouth College, joining the more than one thousand members of the Class of 2006 on the Green for Commencement. Today he stood alone in Rollins Chapel to receive his commission in the United States Marine Corps.
Colin pursued a double major, in economics and philosophy, and proved such a talented journalist that he became president of The Dartmouth, the student newspaper. This afternoon he might have been preparing to leave Hanover to take his pick of jobs in journalism, or, as one of his economics professors assured me as we waited for the ceremony to begin—I attended between meetings of the board of trustees—to begin a lucrative job on Wall Street. Instead Colin took his position in front of the flags of the United States and the Marine Corps, and, as his family and friends looked on, swore to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Colin’s mother and father pinned the bars of a second lieutenant onto his uniform. Then Master Sergeant Rafael Trujillo approached, drew himself to attention, and gave Lt. Barry his first salute. Lt. Barry returned the salute. The rest of us applauded.
Applause has never sounded so inadequate.