July 9, 2019, West Point, NY-
My father, before his passing, expressed a desire to visit the United States Military Academy, at this wide spot on the west bank of the Hudson, 57 miles north of New York City. I don’t know if he ever made it there, but in case he hadn’t, I was determined to visit on both his behalf and as part of marking my own 50th anniversary of having joined the U.S. Army.
Unlike either of the still extant posts at which I served,West Point does allow visitors. The security check involves both a written document and a personal interview, lasting 3-5 minutes. Once those are accomplished, a visitor is given clearance to go to the Cemetery, to Trophy Point and, parking space available, to the fortress-like dormitories.
I set aside 3 hours, this afternoon, after being cleared by security, to look over the areas mentioned above. West Point, despite a handful of peccadilloes, over the years, remains largely a bastion of honour.
The Museum is the first place one sees, upon entering the Visitor Center parking lot. I save that great edifice for another time, preferring to get out and take in the out of doors sections of the Academy.
From the edge of the parking lot, one may take in a serene view of the Hudson.
On to the Visitor’s Center, with its display which depicts the quarters of a cadet, and of the cadet’s four years.
The quarters are spartan.
Once cleared by the dour and seemingly exhausted security officer, I drove to the Cemetery parking lot and took in a variety of mausoleums and tombs, reflecting our nation’s military heritage. Soldiers from George Armstrong Custer to William Westmoreland are laid to rest in these grounds.
Here is a montage of the statuary and resting places of West Point National Cemetery.
The Old Cadet Chapel, seen below, was brought here to the Cemetery Gate, from its prior location near the dormitories.
From here, I walked to Gees Point, from which one may take in more serene views of the majestic Hudson River.
This Helipad is primarily for the use of dignitaries, coming and going.
This small house invokes the gentler side of the Academy. It serves as an officer’s residence.
This is one of two paths, from the Main Road to Eisenhower Hall, that are “Use at own risk”. I took the risk.
Below is a view of the Catholic Chapel.
The Gothic dormitories could only be photographed from a distance, this evening, due to a dearth of parking.
The legendary football/soccer stadium stands next to the dorms.
Finally, the statue of Tadeusz Kosciusko stands watch, gazing towards the Hudson.
So ended my first visit to my former superiors’ alma mater.