A Look Into West Point

Founded in 1802, West Point, The United States Military Academy, is a place which inspires a deep sense of patriotism and reverent awe. Here “the history they teach was made by the people they taught.” …Grant, Lee, MacArthur, Eisenhower. Its rich history combined with the beehive of activity from the current cadets make this a National Park like none other you will experience.

A view of The Plain–the hallowed parade field the soldiers use to march during parades. The Plain has been a military training ground since 1778. Each October during Homecoming a review is held where graduates of West Point return and unite with other members of the Long Gray Line in the Review Parade.

Little known fact: The class ring originated at West Point in 1835 when class members designed their own rings, which were purchased privately and made to order for the individuals. Now you know.

A picturesque view of the superintendent’s house just off The Plain.

Enjoyed West Point this trip as a graduate. Somehow it was much more beautiful than he remembered!

General George Washington

A view from the 6th floor of the new library.

The cadet honor code–“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”

A view from Pershing Barracks, where these granite walls were opened as the west academic area in 1895.

Know before you go: So as not to be offended when the man next to you tells you his daughter is a cow-here are a few terms to add to your vernacular before going to West Point:

Plebe: Freshman Cadet
(derivation: Greek Plebeian)

Yearling: Sophomore Cadet
(derivation: A yearling is anything (anyone) between 1-2 years old)

Cow: Junior Cadet
(derivation: In years past cadets were only allowed one time of leave during their 4 years stint at West Point. The leave came in the spring of their Junior year. Therefore, it was time for graduation when the cows came home.)

Firstie: Senior Cadet
(Seniors are first classman)

Enjoying the game with two grads as Army beat VMI 29-7. An army football game is like none I’ve ever attended–steeped in tradition with cadets standing the entire game, canons, which were all captured in battle, that go off whenever the Black Knights score, the flag the size of the football field and Taps ceremony at half time…it was an amazing experience!

Michie Stadium-Go Army!

General Patton

General Eisenhower

A rare view of the Cadet Mess Hall where 4,400 cadets are fed 3 meals daily in under 33 minutes. We were able to dine here with the cadets, who eat family style around the table, because Chuck is a graduate.

Trophy Point
This gorgeous view of the Hudson is from Trophy Point, which is an open-air cannon exhibit that showcases captured cannons from wars which shaped this nation.

Battle Monument

Fort Putnam: West Point’s Revolutionary War Fortification
(Also the oldest Army Post)

First opened to the public in 1854, the West Point Museum houses “the largest diversified collection of military arms, flags, uniforms, accouterments, paintings and portraiture in the Western Hemisphere.”

My two favorite current cadets!
I left West Point with a renewed sense of patriotism and greater appreciation for the men and women, past and present, who have served the people of the United States through military service. Moreover, the somber playing of Taps on two separate occasions during my visit served as the most poignant reminder that freedom isn’t free.