Two local graduates head to service academies | July 2, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 2, 2010

Two local graduates head to service academies

Gunn's Grace Hamilton, Menlo's Kevin Flaherty took different paths to military choice

by Chris Kenrick

Grace Hamilton reported Monday to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

This story contains 817 words.

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Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Congrats to both, I wish you the best of luck moving forward in your education and careers. The dedication and commitment you have made is admirable and honorable.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

Congratulations to both, but how sad. I can't imagine choosing to be part of the military machine with so many other options available to you.

Posted by Army Officer, a resident of another community
on Jul 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm


palo alto mom. We are not a military machine. We are Americans serving a higher cause. We are a reflection of the values and experiences of the American people past and present.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Palo Alto Mom, all the other options are available because some people put their bodies on line to defend those options.

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Congrats to both students and their families - what a fine accomplishment. I am particularly struck by the story of the young lady who surprised her family by loving West Point - a good example of the wonderful ways our kids can amaze us.

PA Mom - I feel sad for you that you don't appreciate the values and reasoning behind these young people's choices. I do not come from a military family, but I value the service they provide and the ideals that they represent, which are among the highest I can think of. Independence Day is a great time to reflect on that, in fact.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Palo Alto mom, I also feel sad - for you. These young people who chose and were appointed to our military academies value our countries heritage, our ideals, our dreams, our values. and our Constitution. This is a great country. Millions want to come here, few want to leave. God bless them both.

Posted by CVC, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Congratulations to the Hamilton family!!!!!!

Thanks Palo Alto Online for writing this article.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Reading US history, we have fought the same war over and over again, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan, etc. We send our best and brightest children to fight wars we can not win and should not be fighting. Sometimes we are serving "a higher cause", often we are justifying the expenditures of our military, including the contractors who make millions off our wars.

I believe our many fought to give us the options we have today, but in the past 30 years, we have made the world less safe for Americans and the wonderful service people who give their lives for our country.

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm

PA Mom, I don't fully agree with your analysis, but even so - it seems like you should be sad if they said they were going to become politicians, not join the armed forces. Politicians choose the wars; our armed forces try to win them.

Don't worry - I imagine the families and their fine children are used to callous remarks like yours and simply ignore them.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 3, 2010 at 1:13 am

How fantastic that these students have chosen to serve in the military and risk their lives for our freedom. Veterans are much too unappreciated in our country; we should be grateful for them. The rest of us are all sissies.

"Flaherty, an Eagle Scout, honor student and varsity football player at Menlo" . . . he followed his brother's footsteps exactly. Hello, Brian! Thank you for teaching my son lacrosse! Best to you!

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 3, 2010 at 5:17 am

It takes particular courage, fortitude and dedication to go join the military in this area, populated by fools like PA Mom who never has, and never will, understand that without our military, there would be no USA, and there would be no ability for her to criticize those she disagrees with.

It is the USA military, though not called that, filled with volunteers who sacrificed lives, limbs, property, families, to break from totalitarianism starting in 1776, and it is the USA military, still filled with just volunteers at this point, which has brought unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to about 45 of the world's almost 200 nations since then. Without the USA military, freedom to criticize anything you wish, even foolish criticism, would not exist.

I asked my brother how he could tolerate his time in every trouble spot in the world in his 30 years in the Air Force, knowing there were folks like PA Mom back home, and he told me that we need the PA Moms to prove that what he was defending was still worth defending..we have to tolerate foolish opinions or we lose the right to express intelligent ones. THAT is dedication to a principle. I would have a very hard time risking my life, being separated from my family, living in horrible conditions for months on end, defending PA Mom's right to say such things as she has written,( good grief, so blatantly off the wall, I don't even know where to begin to refute them), but that is the kind of military we have.

No thanks to PA Mom.

Thank you Ms. Hamilton and Mr. Flaherty, you have my and my family's undying respect and admiration, may you love your work and not be distracted by silliness.

I hope you can understand that the PA Moms prove that what you are dedicating yourselves to is worth dedicating yourselves to,just like us tolerating that Westboro Baptist church to say anything it wants proves the freedoms you defend still work. We have to have these types of folks to prove that our Declaration of Independence and our Constitutional Bill of Rights still hold true.

It might be good for the rest of us to read the Declaration of Independence, all the way through, this weekend and remind ourselves how we began, and what the results are that you swear to defend.

Fitting thread for the 4th of July Weekend.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2010 at 6:17 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Palo alto mom, when you stop fighting you become a vassal of someone who continues. My war was Korea, and my monument is a people free to seek their own dreams rather than to submit to a madman.
I'll bet you would love Sharia.

Posted by Perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 3, 2010 at 7:30 am

Yup, Walter...those Koreans sure are mad at you for giving them their freedom, and all of us Americans who trade with the free Koreans sure are upset about the mutually beneficial economic results!

Darn, we should have left south Korea to turn into North Korea!

hee hee

Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I am thrilled at the comments to this article (thanks PAOnline for writing it); they make me realize that Palo Alto is not entirely the anti-military community it can appear to be.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Amen, Chris. Any relation to "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias?

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm

To where can I send them chocolate chip cookies.??
Every college kid should get CCC's especially first year students at the Naval Academy, West Point, and the AF and Coast Guard academies CCC are food for the stressed soul. I've sent many a box years ago.

Posted by geral, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

they are sorely misled.
"The US, however, is losing even a bigger war at home where a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes."
Web Link

The types of crimes committed by the fbi/cia/dod,etc., as I have witnessed over the course of my lifetime are not new to mankind; indeed, for as long as man has walked on the face of the earth he has been confronted with his own savagery and inhumanity to fellow man. War has become legal; fbi/cia covert intelligence operations (including mass murder and other assassinations & tortures) are well known by many but never spoken about in polite conversations because they are also legal by awful custom. Thus, the end game for man is now being shaped by the most barbaric feature of his character: man's criminal urge to destroy one another for myriad purposes. Mark Twain perhaps captured this truth as he said,
" A crime preserved in a thousand centuries ceases to be a crime, and becomes a virtue. This is the law of custom, and custom supersedes all other forms of law."

The recent wars are paid for largely by the lives of (and taxed on the backs of) the poor .
Send the senators (like Lindsey Graham, et al) into battle on the front lines to remove the hidden bombs and see how long the war would last.
Other candidates for the proposed congressional bomb squad battalion are found in the marble hallways of Congress and specifically from here:

Web Link

War not worth fighting by a USA not worth defending

The awful irony of our time is that the three official branches of government are now overthrown by the unofficial fourth branch, Administrative Agencies.

Web Link

Posted by Another PA mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Wow. I have often used the name "PA mom" but will have to stop that from now on. I think it's very courageous when our youth step up and serve our country.

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