Three daughters, June, Jeilyn, and Jasmyn, have followed in their mother’s footsteps, each entering the prestigious Military Academy at West Point in New York state. The elite military college is famous for preparing its graduates to lead soldiers of the U.S. Army.
Their mother, Lt. Col. June Copeland Sr., who lives in Fort Belvoir in Alexandria, Virginia, entered the renowned officer college for a simple reason:
“I joined the Army because my twin brother asked me to,” she told The Epoch Times. “It’s that simple. I enlisted as a medic. My mother encouraged me to attend West Point, because she believed the Army’s leadership would challenge me and take care of me.”
It did that and a lot more.
The experience led Copeland, 46, not only to a fulfilling career in the Army, but it also taught her important life lessons and created a legacy that would inspire her daughters to follow in her footsteps.
“I saw how much my mother loved her job and I of course wanted that same feeling,” said Copeland’s youngest daughter, Jasmyn Haynes, 19, who is currently a cadet. “At that young age, I associated her job with her graduating West Point. I knew it was one of the best institutions in the country. I chose to go there.”
Copeland Sr. was born in Savannah, Georgia, though she was mostly raised in Detroit, Michigan. Her family was not well off, she said, yet her parents worked hard and made sure the children had everything they needed and were loved.
“When I went out in to the world, knowing I was loved meant everything to me,” she shared. “When the world told me I wasn’t good enough, I knew I had people in my corner who loved me and were proud of me.”
Copeland Sr. joined the Army and fell in love with her profession. A career in the Army enabled her to travel all over the world, provide for her daughters, and forge lifelong friendships and experiences that shaped who she was.
It was her example that inspired the three sisters to follow in her footsteps.
Copeland’s eldest daughter, 2nd Lt. June Copeland Jr., 22, shared what attending the prestigious, yet grueling, military college taught her.
“The Academy has a saying that they ‘teach us how to fail,’” she explained. “What they mean by that is that they teach us how to recover from that failure.
“They teach us to analyze what we did wrong, figure out how to fix it, and then implement that solution moving forward. I think that’s a pretty good lesson for life. Things don’t always go according to plan but we have to adjust fire and continue to the mission.”
The 47-month program will challenge hopeful graduates in ways they never thought possible, June Sr. adds—a necessary part of the experience to ensure that they are more than capable of leading the country’s men and women into battle. It teaches discipline as well as other important values.
“Resiliency first and foremost!!” is what 19-year-old cadet Jasmyn Haynes has learned from attending West Point.
Her eldest sister, June, shares a similar sentiment. “I went into the Academy very confident that I would excel just like I did in high school. It was a big wakeup call when I found myself struggling like I never had before,” she said.
Meanwhile, faith has also played an important role in choosing a career in the Army.
“My career and family are perfect, complimentary examples of the positive effects of faith in my life,” said Copeland Sr. “For instance, being an officer in the United States military is extremely tough.
“Being a soldier, as a single parent, can make the experience brutal. My faith provided me with the strength, grace, and inspiration to happily rise to the occasion every day of my career.”
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