A Visit to West Point

We are home from our visit to West Point to retrieve our oldest son and our whirlwind tour of New York City.  Arriving at the Newark airport last Thursday morning, we hopped in our rental car, only to find that our GPS device that we had brought along was dead and the charger was not working.  With no good maps and only basic directions from West Point literature, we headed out on to the New Jersey turnpike.  Needless to say, the congestion and stop-and-go traffic made for a stressful introduction to the New York area.

After several hours stuck in traffic, we finally made our way up to the Palisades Interstate Highway and arrived at West Point just in time to take the last tour of the day.  West Point is a beautiful and historic campus located on the Hudson River.

Originally founded as a fortress during the Revolutionary War, West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America. In order to reduce our foreign dependence on officers for our military, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1802.  Most of the buildings are constructed out of native granite.  The Cadet Chapel, seen below up on the hill, was dedicated in 1910.

The inside of the chapel is beautiful with all of its stained glass windows.

After our tour, we checked into our hotel and explored the campus more on our own.  Below is a view of the parade field where the cadets demonstrate their marching skills for an audience occasionally.

One of the most impressive things about West Point is all the famous graduates, including:  Jefferson Davis, Robert Lee, George Meade, Ulysses Grant, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, George Custer, Douglass MacArthur, George Patton, Jr., Dwight Eisenhower, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, just to name a few.  Statues around campus honor many of these famous people.

Friday morning we attended the closing ceremony for the Summer Leadership Seminar.  The program consisted of some awards being handed out and a few speeches by Generals on why West Point is such a unique institution and a great place to get an education.

The parents all waited anxiously near the library to pick up our candidates.  They finally emerged, looking a bit exhausted.

Of course, the first thing I asked him to do was to pose for pictures.  First, we took a picture by the Cadet Honor Code.

Then, I made him pose with his proud parents.

We spent the next several hours and days asking him questions about his experience.  Overall, he had a good time, learned a lot, and made some new friends.  He concluded that although he could see himself as a West Point cadet, he was holding off on any decision until after he attends the Air Force seminar this week.

It was a relief to have him back with us and we loaded up in the car and headed to the Big Apple.  More on that experience to come…

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