When a young man enters the gate of the Sandhurst Academy he is just a teenager, and after a long series of experiences he becomes a man. Then, after a long waiting, it comes the Graduation Day. Here, in Sandhurst this means a special military ceremony named: ”Passing Out”.
Suddenly, all the cadets become happy. They’ll say goodbye to classes and to their studies, to the books that have guided their steps in the miraculous realms of knowledge. They’ll part with the youthful enthusiasm for all interesting activities and their great dreams. They’re graduates and they’re officers of the British Royal Army!
They’re like enthusiastic sailors on the vast ocean of knowledge and achievement. Quite soon they’ll weigh anchor for the first time after 44 weeks of sailing. It won’t be too long before they reach the destiny of their dreams. It’s the end of an important period in their development. The sailor in the lookout has shouted “Land ahoy!”
His shout is full of his joy at the accomplishment of his mission as a sailor but also his regret at parting with the salty tang of the sea air. But in the end their objective is to conquer that land in the distance.
Now, on graduation, they remember many of the moments they’ve live through here – for instance, the entry exam, which wasn’t easy and the first day as a cadet. Then there was their first parade, their first class and their first hours of training. Later came their first day handling a weapon and the first prize as cadets in a sport competitions. One whole year has passed in the Academy. They entered as ordinary civilians and now they leave as commissioned officers, proud of the military uniform.
For a member of British Royal Family, the military career seems a simple choice, but it hides a certain responsibility towards his own sense of identity. Harry could have chosen a smoother and more comfortable path for his training. But he was attracted from the beginning by the prospect of having a clear purpose in life, even if it was one that was hard to achieve. At first, because of his rebellious spirit, he only had a blurred image of how things could be in the Army, but later on, he began to see things very clearly.
If someone wants to give a definition to the cadet at RMA Sandhurst, he has to include hundreds of years of tradition and thousands of characters of all varieties converted to the simple reality of military life. It involves thousands of hours of hard work, of study and training. It’s a long road crowned by the satisfaction of success. For the cadets here today in the parade, the Academy means history. It’s so great to know that a part of your personal history is now part of the history of Sandhurst Academy.
On the event of “Passing Out”, they’re getting ready for the last exercise here: the Sovereign’s Parade. Then they’ll make for the big exit gate and will step into the future. But they’re still dependent on the past! Their actions will follow them!
Prince Harry was full of emotion at first. Here, in this Military Academy he learned to feel great pride during participation in the military parades. That was his last participation in such a parade, being a royal cadet. Then he had a shadow of sadness in his eyes. Even he experienced the happiness of being a Graduate, I imagine him saying: “So, fare-well Sandhurst! I’ll come back to you as to my first and best love!”