A Memorable Memorial Day

This Monday’s ASM was one of the best of the year. This was one of the few meetings where the entire audience listened with rapt attention. There was hardly a rustle among PA’s eleven hundred students as Moulton gave his address. Phones were off, class cheers were absent and study material was almost entirely put away. Without a doubt, all of the misbehavior highlighted by Mr. Hoyt was nonexistent. When an emotional Mr. Washburn introduced his friend and former student, Lieutenant Moulton, to the assembly, it was immediately apparent that the person advancing to the podium was someone of exceptional character. Who other than a superman could make a stoic crew coach shed a tear? We were certainly not disappointed. Moulton captivated the entire assembly with his steady voice and candid demeanor. As he described what he’d done after leaving Andover, one couldn’t help but be inspired. His tales of bravery and responsibility, coupled with a touch of down-to-earth humor, widened eyes and brought on smiles. Who had ever heard of a Marine platoon commander being put in charge of an Iraqi radio station, let alone becoming one of the most popular entertainment figures on Iraqi national television? Moulton, who rose to become an assistant to General Petraeus, showed us that achieving incredible feats is something we can all aspire to. Moulton is someone we can look up to. He’s an Andover grad who not only went to college, but did something incredible with his life. One of the values he stressed was selflessness. He recounted a particularly stirring story, that of his friend Joe, who agreed to reenter the service rather than pursue a lucrative career in business so that “someone else wouldn’t have to go in his place.” We can certainly admire his dedication to the military, but more importantly we can appreciate his message of volunteerism. Almost a hundred years ago, Phillips Academy students and faculty trained for trench warfare on the Great Lawn, a war in which many members of our community perished. Those Andoverians gave themselves completely in order to serve others. This raised the following question: are there many of us now who would devote ourselves entirely to cause like they did? As Lieutenant Moulton emphasized, service is not at all limited to the military variety. But, as members of the Andover community, it is our prerogative to serve causes other than ourselves. Selfless service is a message that should be acted upon. I thank Mr. Moulton for making a well-run and especially heartfelt Memorial Day at PA even better. Charlie Cockburn is a two-year Lower from Washington, D.C.