I've just attended my first board meeting at The U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Wow. What an experience.
I was totally impressed by every aspect of the institution, its tradition, beauty and, of course, the Corps of Cadets.
It's rare these days to find an individual or organization that actually lives up to its image and reputation. But, the "Point" does. Since 1802, West Point has been responsible for training, motivating and educating our nation's leaders. Men like Lee, Grant, Pershing, Eisenhower, Patton and MacArthur were just a few who stood at attention on "The Plain." In fact, there's a saying at the Point aimed at the current crop of students that I'll paraphrase: ''You'll be studying history made by the men who attended these very same classes."
Like every institution of higher education, West Point has its challenges: most notably, a declining awareness level among high school students. But, the board I've joined is intent on changing that.
I'm genuinely pumped to have the honor to serve on the Civilian Public Affairs Committee at West Point. It's a great group with a great job: proselytizing on behalf of a great institution. And the fringe benefits are unreal: being a military history buff, I loved sitting where Ike sat, walking where Pickett and Longstreet walked and viewing the barracks where cadets like Custer resided.
Oh, and each and every cadet is schooled in three words they repeat at each and every checkpoint on campus: "Duty. Honor. Country." One wishes our current crop of leaders adhered to even one of those ideals.
Congratulations on your new position Sir! I’m incredibly proud to have a son at West Point now in his second year. He’d told me at age 12 that he “had his life mapped out!” Egads. Please feel free to call on me anytime should you want help out here in Northern California! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awesome input, Stan. Thanks. I’ll plan on doing both.
Repman – I totally agree. West Point is truly a special place. I had the privilege of growing up about 10 miles from the US Military Academy.
Since you’ve caught the bug, let me recommend two events that are special:
1. Army Football – Michie Stadium has been ranked #7 by SI of the best places to see college football. Maybe more impressive is the face that SI ranked it in the Top 20 of all sporting venues in the world. Here is some background: http://onhudson.typepad.com/onhudsoncom/2008/09/west-points-michie-stadium-gets-two-thumbs-up-as-one-of-college-footballs-best-venues.html
2. Army bandshell. Head up to West Point on a Saturday night during the summer. The Army band performs as the sun goes down. It’s free (which is not a four letter word), you lay out a blanket and allow your senses to be overwhelmed. The season ends the Saturday before Labor Day where the final number in the program is the 1812 Overture. Cannons, firework . . . it doesn’t get any better.