Thursday, July 25, 2013

West Point Military Academy

Imagine driving a Motorhome through Manhattan? Neither could we, so to ensure that we avoided the worst of New York traffic we navigated well inland; in this part of the world all roads lead to the Big Apple ! Even well to the west the traffic is horrendous, while some truck drivers think they are in the Indy 500 (the minority we hasten to add – most are wonderful and courteous) the Indy guys drive fast and come so close that it is frightening, as a result we stay as far away as possible from heavy traffic.

The trip to this part of New York State was planned with a visit to West Point Military Academy in mind. What a beautiful campus this is on the banks of the Hudson River, well within reach of the city. Our drive took us through the picturesque Catskills Mountains however; the site of West Point is awesome. It is built on a cliff overlooking a quite narrow bend on the Hudson River. Our visit started in the visitor’s center where we saw a movie illustrating the daily life of the cadets. These guys (male & female) are literally the "crème de la crème". 15,000 out of substantially more than that number qualify as eligible persons for consideration; all 15,000 will have received either a Congressional Nomination or a Service-Connected Nomination. 1,200 are successful. The Cadets have a tough military based regime of study and physical activity; they have minimal vacation. They also visit many countries for charitable causes or diplomatic reasons.
The museum has exhibits from all American wars; from the war of independence to Iraq. We were both interested Adele very much so, in the period from 1776 to 1861 particularly in the many wars of that period and rarely mentioned. What we learned through these exhibits is just how difficult it was to establish the nation and form a stable democratic government. The British were not happy at the prospect of losing their American colonies, hoping at the least to hang onto New England, New Scotland (Nova Scotia) and New Brunswick. This interested us greatly.

We concluded our day long visit with a two hour guided tour of the campus; visiting two non- denominational churches (the old and the new), saw this year’s recruits training, enjoyed the spectacular views, admired the many statues to our heroes including one of Patton who took 5 years to graduate, facing the Library a place its said he never visited during his tenure there - his excuse for below par academic achievement was that he couldn't find the library. Our tour included a tour of the graveyard where so many heroes are buried each with their own story.
Well worth a visit and just 50 miles from Manhattan.

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