I enjoy college football and I particularly enjoy watching Army and Navy go head-to-head every year. This matchup is as much about the audience as the players.

When I watch the annual clash between the two teams, I focus as much on the camera shots of the audience as I do on the action on the field. Each of the men and women who are in the audience of cadets is a special American. They are there by choice and they have been selected from the best of our students, both academically and physically. The competition to be a student in our military service academies is intense. Success and failure is a daily challenge to the students.

The audience and the players on the field have made a commitment to defend our nation, and are willing to put their life on the line to accomplish that mission. When the camera focuses in on a small group of cadets or a single future officer, I am compelled to study their face and wonder why they are there and what the future will be for them.

These are some of the greatest people that we are lucky to have as fellow Americans. They are going to do great things for our country. Some are going to die doing it.

Over 100 graduates of West Point have died in the defense of our nation since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. You can read their names and view their pictures as cadets here.

Nearly as many graduates of our Naval Academy have also been killed defending America in the war against Muslim terrorism. You can read the Navy and Marine officers' names here.

The men on the football field, in this game, and only in this game, are only more important than their classmates for the duration of the event. After that, they go back to being the future front-line defense of our country, and the eventual leaders and planners of our defense as generals and admirals.

Army won this game, but America is always the winner because of the men and woman who are so dedicated to our nation that they are willing to die for us.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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