Photo by Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer

Amid the celebratory mood of the Coast Guard Academy’s commencement ceremony May 20, President Obama told cadets in his keynote speech that they hold a special distinction in America’s maritime history — one that means new dangers and responsibilities.

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Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta

The most challenging and tragic day of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts’ life began at 4:30 a.m. on July 13, 2008, with a round of explosions that left him seriously wounded and with no hope of a medical evacuation. Nearly losing his life, he emerged with unparalleled lessons and experience, which he shared in a May 16 commencement speech at his alma mater, the University of New Hampshire.

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