On the way to the graduation ceremony, he and I were discussing our conversation when, at the end of his eight grade year, I explained to him that the following four years were going to pass by before he realize what had happened. A few days before, he had told me that he was going to graduation practice, and I asked if he felt any excitement about that. His reply was one that I had not expected from the once-emotional child who had turned stoic as a young adult - he said that "It's more bittersweet than anything else". He then uttered the same statement that most of us have said or felt at one time or another.
Back to the trip to the school - I noted to my son that he should think about the possibility that he would accomplish things that would merit a plaque in his name for the hall of notable alumni at his school. Being a young man who is determined to become a Marine Officer (In English Marine Corps rather than the navy), he asked if I meant something along the lines of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in combat. My reply was that anyone - even the laziest person imaginable, can perform heroic and selfless things when they chance upon an event that gives him the opportunity to act, but it is the man or woman of virtue, focus, and determination that will accomplish the most over time. The former can be a flash-in-the-pan, but the latter will be the one that others will strive to emulate.
After the graduation ceremony, one of my son's teachers walked up to me while the graduate was taking photos with his friends and made a very nice comment: