If you have a message for the Class of 2004 and their families, please use our submission form or send it via e-mail to the Webmaster . We will review messages prior to posting to ensure the security of our cadet candidates. Please understand that we may edit submissions for readability and will delete cadet last names to assure privacy. Thanks!

I am a 13 year old boy and I am extremely interested in attending USMA when the time comes. I already correspond with Dru, Heather, and Will but I would like to get to know the future of our army better. I would appreciate it if you would email me at dswanson@mmcable.com or AOL IM me at Patriot4Christ. Thank you!


David Swanson
Class of 2010

We have just seen for the first time the class crest for 2004 and wanted to congratulate these fine young men and women on a wonderful presentation. It will represent them well. We as parents are filled with joy and pride.You are our hopes and dreams for the future, God Bless all of you.

Proud Parent

I just happened to look at your Parents of 2004 Website. Very nice site. I'm enjoying the music as I type!!

I saw the positive impact of the Web on parents and on West Point at the A-N Game a week ago. It has really allowed communication and organization that was not possible years ago. I don't believe there was even such a thing as "Parents Clubs" when I was at West Point (Class of 64) and it would have been difficult to mobilize parents in the manner I observed at A-N Game. And I enjoyed a beer at the Hilton Lobby Bar with some parents and was impressed by the closeness with and the support to the young people and to WP. Congrats!

For most young men and women, West Point is a great place and the start of a great career and life. In a few instances people quit because it doesn't fit or leave because they fail some academic subject. The pace is rigorous and the stress is enormous for all the right reasons. So even those that leave have nothing to be ashamed of. I have classmates and friends who were "turned out" and "found" on academics or who dropped out but who went on to do great things in their lives. One ended up serving alongside of us in Viet Nam as a Commissioned Officer and went on to a distinguished Army Career. Another of my classmates had to leave Plebe year, but had the tenacity to come back with the Class of 65. He is now the Chief of Staff of the Army, Rick Shinseki!!

And I must confess that I got "turned out" twice (English and Dynamic of Fluids - whatever in the blazes that was!!!!), but managed to Pass the Turn Out Exams and stayed each time. (The process is slightly different now but the concept is the same.) And I am proud that the Army saw fit later when I was a young, ambitious Captain and doing well in the Army to send me to Grad School, where I earned an M.A., an M.B.A., and a Ph.D.! And for a change I received good grades!! Some WP P's would have had a Heart Attack had they known!!! Probably speaks to maturity - guess I was a slow learner and maturer!!!

I retired as a Colonel with 22 years of very proud service - the Army was so very good to me and I had a fabulous career. Commanding the young people of our nation is a pretty neat thing. I had the honor of commanding our soldiers at the Platoon (in combat), the Company (2X - once in combat), the Battalion levels, and at a major Supply Depot (switched from Infantry to Quartermaster after 10 years). Even after switching to QM, I voluntarily spent the next 6 years in the 25th Infantry Division in a great series of assignments. Soldiering is what it's all about.

And after retirement, the experiences, education, and aura of the West Point and the Army held most of my classmates in good stead for great second careers. I guess a poet would wax on about going from Captains of the Army to Captains of Industry - but it rings true. It certainly has made my second career rewarding.

Trust that this is a wonderful experience for your children. And they are meeting and getting to know some of the finest lifetime friends they will ever have. I went to a Dinner party two weeks ago at the home of a Classmate with whom I took my WP Physical and Exams at Fort Sheridan in 1959 (I'm from Chicago, his Dad CG of 5th Army, then in Chicago) and who was in my Cadet Company. After West Point we served together occasionally (we changed Company Command at one point), socialized, partied and communicated over the years. His young fiancée stayed with my wife and me while she visited at Ft. Ord in 1967. It's always a joy to see the two of them. The friendships from West Point and the Army are deeply rooted.

At the Army Navy game we had about 60 classmates with wives, some of whom have also known each other for years. Even our wives' friendships often transcend the 40 years, since some like my Wife went to Ladycliffe College together (now the area with the Visitors Center Museum, etc.). There is nothing tighter than a West Point Class. If 2004 thinks its a close-knit Class now, they will be pleasantly surprised how much closer they will get as each year goes by.

Wow, I am reminiscing, or is it rambling???!!! This must be an aging thing! The Old Grad syndrome!! Sorry. But I feel good about West Point, and I felt good about the young people I saw in Gray and in Blue on both sides of the field on December 2.

You all can be very proud of your Cadet son or daughter. And I'm sure you are.

Bud Henry, '64


I am an almost 13 yr old boy who is very interested in going to West Point. I would also like to correspond with a current cadet to see what life at the USMA is really like. If you would please e-mail me at dswanson@mmcable.com it would be more than appreciated.

Duty, Honor, Country,

A Cadet Parents' Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me strength.

Give me strength to let go of my child whom I love more than life itself, for they are now adults.

Give me strength to place them in your hands and trust in your wisdom and guidance and not my own.

Give me strength to support and stand by my Cadet even if they choose a path that makes me uncomfortable.

Give me strength to always encourage my Cadet even when my own heart is breaking over the same hurt and disappointment that they feel.

And finally Lord, give me strength that I may not boast too much of the pride I feel that my son or daughter is a Cadet at West Point. Help me always appreciate that their accomplishments are given by your grace and sustained by your will.

And grant that one day I might stand there on graduation, with all the other parents, filled with love and delight, as my child becomes a distinguished member of the" Long Grey Line".

This we ask in your Holy Name

Thanks to Bob and Sherry Hall, '03, for writing this prayer

Hello to All from an Illinois Plebe parent.

I would like to let you all know that we should be very proud and blessed to have such excellent leaders in our sons and daughters. But most of all we need to remember where they came from. US!!

Congratulations to all the moms, dads, and caregivers of our cadets. I am equally proud of all of you. They did not get here alone! When you keep our cadets in your prayers, keep us all. I am so happy to have met so many of you because you are all tops in my book.


TLJ from Elgin

To all parents. We recently had occasion to call our son's TAC officer with some concerns and the whole situation was handled wonderfully. As we were told on R-Day do not hesitate to call on this resource. The TAC officers do have the cadet's best interest in mind.

A parent from the class of 2004

The best advice we got was to go up to Round Pond which was a rest stop for the cadets around 0700. Each Company came into a parking area, picked up a drink and got to sit down, take off their helmets and rest for 5-10 minutes. We got to sort of wander around and look at our cadet and take pictures while trying not to be too obvious. We couldn't speak, but watching them sitting in one place for that long is hard to describe. There were ~20 or 30 parents there and we got to talk to the "sup" and others on the march.

The cadets had gotten organized for the march around 0200 and were off around 0300. A huge thunder and lightening storm came in around 0600 and the march evidently stopped and dispersed in a field with rifles and radios lowered. We were sitting in our car at Round Pond and were glad we weren't out in the storm. By 0700 it was over and the cadets began coming into Round Pond. Then they proceeded on to the Ski Slope to get ready for the "Parade" part of the March Back down to the Barracks.

We were out in front of the "sup's" house and there was wonderful sunny blue sky and a large crowd. The Parade passed by so fast that I got pictures of the band and the Class Banner with "For Country and Corps Class of 2004." The companies went by so fast that I didn't even catch a glimpse of my cadet, which made the quiet time at Round Pond so much more memorable.

The cadets were then off to lunch, after dropping their gear outside and joined their academic companies after lunch. Company D was the "Honor Company" and has earned an extra fall liberty. There was lots more, but I'll let other parents fill it. It was great to see our cadet and we really look forward to talking with him on A-Day.

Eric A. Wulfsberg

I just returned from WP. I drove up there from Texas so I'm a little behind in my A-day praises. It was a very grand day. I was able to make the practice on Friday so I had a good idea where to sit and get the best photos of my Plebe. He said that he saw me in the stands on Friday but the crowd was so big on Saturday that he missed me. I was sitting in the same spot. The sight of all the cadets in the morning sun was a real wonderful sight to see.

It took about 2 hours for him to join up with me but he called on my cell phone and was able to look out his window and see me standing outside waiting for him. When he came out he looked a little taller and a little prouder but other than that he was the same.

We had a great day in town and around WP. Sunday was even better because the crowds were not as bad. He ran into a cadet that he was with in high school but had not seen since R-day. They sat and talked for a while, comparing notes on their different companies. It was very hard to see him walk off Sunday afternoon back into the barracks. As I drove back by the Plain on my way off post I could see him walking into the building. I almost wanted to just go get him and take him home with me. Its hard to let go. I'm looking forward to a wonderful time on PPW when the whole family will be there. I had to get my photos done at 1-hour photo when I got home just to help keep the memories fresh. It was also great talking to lots of other parents while we waited for our Cadets. There are lots of great folks out there. A job well done to both Cadets and parents.


For those of you who were not at A-day - here is another's experience.

After the parade, we began the wait at Patton's Statue. My cadet had my cell phone and called to say he would be down around noon. A few of the cadets were being released - so we started watching carefully every cadet walking from the barracks. We noted a tall cadet with what looked like a small clothes bag and I mentioned to my husband that we should call our cadet to see if he wanted us to do some laundry. He was the only one on the walk at the time, so we watched him for a while, then got distracted by other uniforms filing out.

A moment later, the cadet with the clothes bag came walking up to us --- he was our son!! He had lost 17 pounds and we didn't even recognize him. We spent the day hearing all the stories from Beast - but the most memorable picture was the joy on my cadet's face. He said he wouldn't have traded this summer's experience for anything. I actually think he liked it. From this parent's point of view, I no longer need to worry about our cadet ... he has definitely found a home.

Army Mom (04)

A-Day was fantastic!

I was worried about the weather since our drive up the day before was in rain and mist. I actually got a bit of a sunburn from the event. It was our first experience with a parade at West Point and seeing all (upperclassmen and our cadets) march through the sally ports and onto the parade field was awesome. The echo of the cadence and music was neat. We listened to the people in the stands that were scanning the companies for their cadets. We also had upperclassmen in the stands near us and it was heartwarming to hear them and see them cheering on the class of 2004. Our kids (oh boy, cadets!) are in such good hands. My son was happy to hear about all the applauding and cheering the upperclassmen did :-)

We were fortunate to stay at the Hotel Thayer - very nice, by the way, for any of you that have not been there before. We had a standard room and it was quite large. Our cadet chose to spend all his time in our room, eating, watching TV and talking. He could really relax this way. We had brought a friend of his along with us and told him to go ahead and call all his friends he wanted to. I do think the best advice we were given (and there was much wonderful advice on the forum) was to just let him talk and talk and talk! We listened closely and tried to understand all that he has been through. I think the talking was quite cathartic for him. I noticed that whenever we were interrupted by something he would start right back in at the point he had been interrupted at.

We packed him off to his room at 11:30 p.m. I could tell he didn't want to go, but I was worried we would all fall asleep and he would not get back on time. We told him to sleep in the next day and organize himself when he got up. At about 10:30 am he called and invited us to lunch...YEAH! So we went to lunch at his choice, McDonalds, (oh well), and then supply shopping. We didn't find much because the PX was in the process of moving. I did enjoy all the cadets at the PX. We are a retired military family and have been to zillions of PX's but it is neat to watch others that haven't. We did find supplies at the Rite-Aid in Highland Falls. It is a VERY well stocked store. We also found it helpful to drive around with our cadet and let him point out all the places and buildings and monuments (memorization for them) that he knew about. Took lots of photos, parents can never have too many of those!

My only true complaint was the New Jersey Turnpike and all the traffic on the way back, but it was well worth the extra THREE HOURS it took us to get home just to spend the time with our cadet and see a little piece of his world.

Congratulations to all of the cadets and all their terrific parents! Way to go 2004!!

Army Mom

I would like to thank all the cadre and upperclassmen in charge of CBT 2000. When I think of the work involved in the whole process it is mind boggling.

We had a quiet visit with our cadet Sat. We were fortunate to have a room at the Thayer so we had lunch there. He wanted to explore Highland Falls a little so we (and 1000 others) checked out the museum and small shops for about two hours. We went for a drive to the commissary and picked up cleaning supplies and some of his favorite snacks. I had already packed some of his favorite things that were waiting for him in our room so he had PLENTY to eat. We ordered a movie but he was asleep before it started. We could barely wake him for dinner at 7! After dinner we tried again with a movie but...

We woke him at 10:30 pm (his company wanted them back by 11:00). About this time I was feeling very bad for him since he was sooo tired and really not himself at all. Sunday he met us at 8:30 for church. The service was wonderful. He was bouncy and afterwards at brunch he was making jokes, reciting all the zillion bits of information he had know and actually acting more like the kid I remember. I am so glad we were able to stay Sunday, some parents could not. I would have felt awful leaving after our experience Saturday, he was just so exhausted!

He is very happy in his new company because they are very "professional". His team leader is his mother now, so I don't have to worry :-)

See you all at PPW!

Deanne '04

Warm greetings to all, The march back began with phrases like: I can hear them; I hear the band; I can see them through the clearing; Look, right there; HERE THEY COME! By this time parents were standing in the street with cameras poised and necks strained to catch the first sight of the new cadets. Emotions were running high. Everyone was frantically searching the faces of the rain-soaked, mud-caked cadets and attempting to identify companies as the quickly marched by. People were yelling "congratulations" and "bring it on home" and "you're almost there" and "you made it!" A few cadets stole a glance and a smile to the sidelines but for the most part they were focused and professional. They were soldiers on parade.

Some parents saw tears, and some saw grimaces and, like R-Day, some were unable to find their cadet among the sea of look-a-like faces. The march went by fast and the questions we have all been interested in knowing, like what was the class motto and who was the honor company, finally were answered. After the Army mules brought up the rear, my husband and I shared a brief moment of emotional release. The Beast was slain.

Next we hurried to The Plain to see our new cadet in noon formation. Again, the parents lined the sidewalk with their signs of encouragement and praise. By the time we positioned ourselves in front of our cadet's company, the cadets had proceeded into the mess hall for lunch. We observed a group of cadets arrive on crutches (ruck sacks on their backs) and hobble proudly past the assembled parents. They were greeted with applause and cheering. Fortunately, I was able to meet my cadet's roommate's parents and we shared a hug like old friends would. While chatting, we met a volunteer physician who introduced himself and knew our cadets by name. He had just spent the week out in the field with the cadets and gave us a firsthand report about their physical condition. It was comforting to know the individual attention and care our cadets received.

When the cadets filed out after lunch, we were able to make eye contact withour cadet for, at least, ten minutes. Our cadet had changed, somewhat. Face was a bit thinner, but we locked eyes and had a long silent conversation about the last six weeks.

Until we meet on Saturday, get that packing done and have a safe trip to The Point.


Welcome back!!! I hope that the journey was fufilling and an adventure! I wish all of the cadets good luck! To new Cadet Jon : We all miss you and wish you luck. Casady will be boring without you. Keep in touch!!!


Edmond, OK

Just another example that it really does "Take a village" to raise our children. Every once in a while my ego allows me to say to myself, "What a great job I did as a parent! I'm so proud of my New Cadet!" The reality of it is this -- This New Cadet deserves much of the credit just for being a person who is talented enough and willing enough to accept the challenges of West Point. His Dad and I, of course, had great aspirations for our children, but ultimately the decision lies with them. Luckily, we are 2 for 2 at this point in time. Both my kids have turned out to be people of strong character, willing to push themselves to the max and accept all of life's challenges with faith and confidence. I applaud those grandparents who are a part of their New Cadet's experience. I know they must be bursting with pride.

I am reminded on a daily basis how many people have chipped in to bring my New Cadet to the point he's at today. Every day someone asks how my New Cadet is getting along at West Point. Every day, someone in my community extends their best wishes and prayers that this New Cadet will succeed. So many people in town, too many to be counted--either a neighbor, a friend, a relative, a coach, a teacher--have contributed to bringing our New Cadet to this point in his life.

So anyway -- to all you parents (and grandparents) out there that want to shout from the mountaintops how proud you are of your New Cadets -- remember this. The next time someone asks about your New Cadet, remember to thank them for helping you to raise a child that is getting ready to become a member of the elite Long Gray Line. An accomplishment that "the whole village" should be proud of.

Thanks for letting me share.
God Bless.
Kathy -- '04 Mom

All our best wishes and hopes for the New Cadets, Class of 2004. I did not get to come with my son for R-day but will be there with "bells on" for A-Day. This is his first long stay away from home and I know he missed his family greatly. His dad was 22 yrs. Army, so he knows the life style.

Keep your head high, my son, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you daily. Just think of your older sisters when the older Cadets are on your case. Since you survived the three of them you can get through anything.

See you and the rest of the Class of 2004 in 7 days. Take care and be safe. Always look upward and forward.


Boy, at this point in time, A-day seems like 100 years ago.

My husband, daughter, myself, and my son's two best friends since kindergarten all went up for the weekend. I remember the parade where I first got a glimpse of my son. It was so hard seeing him and not being able to make any contact. Afterwards, we had made arrangements to meet at South Dock where our Parents' Club had set up a tent. My son had duties until almost 4:30. When he finally met us, I was shocked. He had lost 15 pounds that he didn't have to spare. We both broke down when we saw each other. It was a very emotional moment.

After we composed ourselves, he greeted his friends and we went to dinner at a restaurant in town. I was glad we had brought his friends with us because it seemed to make it easier on us all emotionally. After dinner, we walked around Highland Falls and eventually ended up at the Ice Cream shop. I was trying to put that 15 pounds back on him that night.

My husband and I sat back and listened to him joke and talk to his friends. We learned a lot of information by listening and not questioning him. We spent the remainder of the evening driving around the base, stopping at Trophy Point, and once again listening to his stories. We convinced him to leave us so he could get some sleep with a promise to meet early the next moring for Mass.

After Mass on Sunday, we went to the Thayer for their brunch and more talking. I also was able to watch him and his friends eat and eat and eat since it was a buffet. The Thayer lost money on that brunch! I noticed he was starting to get anxious after that because he had homework to do for the next day. We took him to the PX to pick up any supplies he needed (a boodle container, some cleaning supplies, and a few notebooks and a schoolbag) and said our good-byes.

Initially, I hadn't want to bring his friends up but am glad I did. It seemed to relieve the tension, especially when they all started acting like the 18 year olds they were.

I hope this information helps. Enjoy A-weekend. It will make for some beautiful memories and a starting point for all the growth (physical, mental and emotional) you'll be seeing whenever you see your Cadet. I kind of miss those days now, although I am very glad plebe year is behind us.

Debbie ('03 mom)

I have received this very thoughtful note from a now-retired Officer who also is a Grad. I think he has done an excellent job of explaining how EVERYONE must become developed to meet the same very high standards required at the Academy, and as we all know, each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses. The whole point is to eliminate the weaknesses. Many thanks to this Grad for taking the time to provide us with this insight.

Everything in the military must be accomplished to a set standard (which can be quite dissimilar from customary "civilian" training requirements). Thus, some plebes who do not meet the standard initially may require more pushups, more work on memorization, and more attention from the chain of command to meet the standard. Thus, an individual new cadet may be "singled out" for additional training or extra attention.

Another possibility is that an individual plebe's actions may indicate that he/she needs corrective action for behavior or attitude. Pushups or memorization may be the medium chosen to get the cadet's attention and drive the change in behavior.

Oftentimes, additional "heat" is applied to see if a specific new cadet will rise to the challenge or wilt under the heat. It is a sort of test to see what the cadet is made of. How well does this new cadet react to pressure? Much better to find this out now at West Point, than in combat leading troops. This sort of dynamic is relatively common in the military.

In the military, every leader has an intense interest in how well a soldier is trained. We may all have to go to war together someday. The soldier we are training today will be leading or working with our nation's most precious natural resource -- our sons and daughters. It is in all our best interests that all soldiers are properly challenged and developed. Sometimes the methodologies may not seem fair...

I realize all of this discussion may not be popular with the moms and dads of the world. Sometimes these methods were not my favorite, nor my son's favorites. However, my advice is that you trust the system. The West Point way has routinely produced military leaders that set the world standard for the last two centuries. Just maybe it works....

Joannie Parr

Hi to all of you from Northern Illinois. My son is in the Class of 2004. He was a Prepster last year. He says he has good and bad days. I worry and pray for him every day. I miss him a lot too. It doesn't matter how old or big children get, they are still our kids. I love you Just.,

Terri Lynn Johnson

New Cadets,

You're all in our hearts and prayers during these last few weeks of CBT. The letters we have been getting from "our" new cadet have been extremely amazing!. From one letter to the next, you've matured from a high school graduate to a young man. We miss you so much, "D".

We know tht God is watching over your and your new comrades. May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be at your back. And 'til we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Maggie McGovern

Okay, just wanted to give some friendly "upperclass" advice.

Work hard, give 100%, don't give excuses, and you'll see that that is all we upperclass are looking for. Work as a team with your classmates...the term "plebe train" will become a familiar one. You all do well, or you all fall, but it should be all or nothing.

You are joining one of the greatest institutes in the nation and in the world. We have all been where you are. We want to do well, we want West Point to do well. Join with us in that.

Don't let cynicism invade your mind, push through the junk and realize that you will make a difference. You will be a leader in the USA. You will graduate from the same school as some of America's greatest heroes. However, it will not come without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Just remember, we are all giving that, whether you see it or not.

I'm not working CBT this summer, but I expect and hope that 2004 will be a superb group of plebes -- plebes with Army Spirit, teamwork skills, and the ability to learn from their team leaders, squad leaders, and other superiors. Have an open mind and don't take anything personal. Most of all, give 110% of yourself, and West Point will give back to you. It is worth the time and effort.

Congratulations for getting into USMA 2004. I know some of you, and I expect great things from ya'll. Prove me right. Show '03, '02, and '01 that you deserve to be where you are, and we will respect you.

Good luck! GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!!

-CDT SGT '02

In an address delivered to the graduating officers at Fort Sheridan, in 1917, Major C.A. Bach said the following (excerpts),

"From the standpoint of society, the world may be divided into leaders and followers. In all this leadership it is difficult, if not impossible to separate from the elements of pure leadership that selfish element of personal gain or advantage to the individual, without which such leadership would lose its value.

"It is in the military service only, where men freely sacrifice their lives for a faith, where men are willing to suffer and die for the right or the prevention of a great wrong, that we can hope to realize leadership in its most exalted and disinterested sense. Therefore, when I say leadership, I mean military leadership.

"In a few days the great mass of you men will receive commissions as officers. These commissions will not make you leaders; they will merely make you officers.

"Great results are not achieved by cold passive, unresponsive soldiers. They don't go very far and they stop as soon as they can. Leadership not only demands but receives the willing, unhesitating, unfaltering obedience and loyalty of other men; and a devotion that will cause them, when the time comes, to follow their uncrowned king to hell and back again if necessary.

"In garrison or camp... many instances will arise to try your temper and wreck the sweetness of your disposition. If at such time you "fly off the handle" you have no business to be in charge of men. For men in anger say and do things that they almost invariably regret afterward.

"You cannot treat all men alike; a punishment that would be dismissed by the man with a shrug of his shoulders is mental anguish for another. A company commander who for a given offense has a standard punishment that applies to all is either too indolent or too stupid to study the personality of his men. In his case justice is certainly blind.

"Study your men carefully, as a surgeon studies a difficult case. And when you are sure of your diagnosis, apply the remedy. And remember that you apply the remedy to effect a cure, not merely to see the victim squirm. It may be necessary to cut deep, but when you're satisfied as to your diagnosis, don't be divided from your purpose by any false sympathy for the patient.

"There is another kind of fairness that which will prevent an officer from abusing the privilege of his rank. When you exact respect from soldiers, be sure to treat them with equal respect. Build up their manhood and self-respect. Don't try to pull it down.

"For an officer to be overbearing and insulting in the treatment of (his subordinates) is the act of a coward. He ties the man to the tree with the ropes of discipline and then strikes him in the face, knowing full well that the man cannot strike back.

We send our most sincere congratulations to the new cadets (Class of 2004) and the proud parents of these remarkable young men and women who are the future leaders of this nation. This nation is strong due to the men and women who have dedicated themselves, through leadership, to serve, protect, and guide this nation to the greatness it has heretofore shown over the passing of years. The class of 2004 will emulate those who have preceded them.

Dorsey E Hostler Jr

The following was posted on the net back in 1996. Right now, many of the things that are mentioned here are probably meaningless to you. By the end of this Academic year, you'll understand what everything is that is being referenced here.

What makes Plebes Happy!
In no particular order:

Optional dinners. Mornings without Fourth Class Development Time. E mail. Long distance relationships. Hearing the chapel bells break through the madness. Days without anything to deliver to the upperclassmen. Regular class weeks. Film clips of Top Gun in Psychology class. B weekends. The Post Exchange. Boodle. Crazy uniforms at spirit dinners. Rain on parade days. Canceled parades. Going out after class to find someone hasn't mistakenly taken your hat and jacket. The words "under raincoats". Getting ice cream and pizza at boodlers. Evening Study Period. Getting mail from that special someone. Class shoes. The unexpected string of good grades in Discrete Dynamical Systems. The radio playing during Chemistry labs.

The way the leaves make it smell like home, no matter where you are from. Secretly listening to your favorite song, downloaded from the Internet. Squirrels in your formation. Deer in your formation. Acceptance day parade. The white hat. Schade's. McDonalds. The way anything looks if it isn't colored gray. Tailgaters with other families after the football game. Waking up at 3 AM to realize you did get up early and can sleep for another two hours. Email jokes from friends. Membership in the 2% club. The radio playing in the cadet barber shop. Having your 2-1 torn up before it gets to the Tac. Free Passes. Long showers in the locker room. Fall out areas. High and Tights. DDS class drops for Computer science labs. Big brass rockets. No gigs on the room correction card. The Cadet Store.

Little 6" fans clipped to your bed. Good spot reports. Blue sky. How good it feels to sing hymns with classmates in morning chapel. Grab and Go dinners. The way civilians seem to adore us. When upperclassmen stop to ask us how we are doing. Desserts that do not need cut. Gym- A. The overhead compartment. Christmas leave. Corps squad tables in the Mess Hall. $132 a month. Clothes are always in style. The Drill Problem stamp. Coroframs. Easy greetings, like "Beat Yale, Sir.", and not "Beat Miami of Ohio, Sir". Battle Dress Uniforms on Fridays. Computer games. Having enough time to finish a 200 page novel in 6 months. Movies in Mahan Hall, three months after the rest of the world has seen them. The Green Girl. Big pictures on the front page of the New York Times. Three words, PMI. Saturday nights. Saturday nights at Ike Hall. Sunday mornings, sleeping in until Church. Sunday afternoons at Ike Hall. Rack Time. Boodle. Knowing that these guys got your back, and they will not let you down.

Table commandants that prefer you address them as "Sexual Chocolate" instead of "Sir". When the Commandant of Cadets catches the upperclassmen making you do something illegal. Finding a real good piece of trivia and stumping the Table commandant with it. Sending something silly to the entire class of 2000 on a distro list. Dress Gray. Getting compliments in haircut inspection, then hearing your Team Leader get reprimanded. Making friendships that will never fade. The unmistakable strength God provides you to persevere through all the bullshit. Plane tickets. The sight of Thayer Gate getting smaller and smaller behind you. Never having to worry about having nothing to do. Seeing someone else getting hazed for a change. Boodle. Being able to cry in front of your friends, and have them understand, instead of make fun of you. When no one screws with you during drill. Trip sections.

Beating Navy at anything, even chess. Getting more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Acing a history test after not reading anything for over a week. Getting a 5 in PE class. Hell, getting a 2 in PE class. Having a "special someone". The Word of God. Broccoli and Cheese Delightfuls. Getting devotionals over email. Thanksgiving Leave. Pictures of loved ones (I can always use more!). Weapons. Field Training Exercises. Watching parades, instead of being in one. Strac lines in all of your shirts. The Coke machine, 6 floors down. Underwear pressed into 6" squares. Having a brother in the Corps. Sta-Brite brass. Having one roommate instead of two. Having a roommate that doesn't participate in self-mutilation. Remembering what is for lunch. Notecards. Federal holidays. Wearing contacts instead of Tactical Eye Devices. Having your heels click on a real good "about face". Big Brass Macarena. Pretending to be asleep when an upperclassman is inspecting your room. Executing perfect "manual of arms". Being complimented on outstanding military bearing. A gleaming floor. No dust. Shiny sink chrome. The brotherhood shared with "old grads".

Living in the barracks adjacent to the Mess Hall. Staying awake all through Chemistry lectures. Knowing that someday you will get to dust off your civilian clothes, and see if they still fit. Finding that the civilian clothes still fit. Finding that the civilian clothes are still in style. Sportscenter highlights of Plebes doing pushups on the field after touchdowns. Shaking the First Captain's hand after doing a set of pushups on the field with him. Fantasizing about one day having a command of your own. Hearing from High School buddies. Feeling utterly desolate without the ones you love, and knowing that in a month you will meet again. Dean's Hour off (rack out). Military Science classes right after lunch. Getting ready for bed. Eating. Boodle. Formations where it is so dark no one can tell if you shined your shoes or not. "Under Gray Jackets." Skipping meals because you can, instead of because you forgot to open the jelly.

Waking up late, and still managing to memorize all your knowledge. Highlighters. Freeware. Birthday Beatdowns. Shaving with an electric razor. Waking up your teamleader when he sleeps through the alarm clock. Borrowing a General's uniform for spirit dinners. Hazing classmates when it is too dark to see. Trick-or-Treating in the hallway. Throwing candy at and beating up on the upperclassmen who come to trick-or-treat. The words: "Cease inspection." Realizing you are not alone. Getting away with outrageous behavior. Pillow fights with the Yearlings in the hall. Getting lifted up on the shoulders of your buddies to do pushups at the games. "Rock the Black and Gold." Having a class hour off before lunch. Maxing the board problem. ESP Parties!! Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Crawling in the mud. The "smell of victory". No longer hearing the words "New Cadet". "No 'sirs' in the field." All the cards in the Bookstore. Afternoon sunshine in your window. "No excuse, Sir." Tight dress-offs. Watching the Air Force exchange cadet screw up on rifle drill. Getting mail from anyone other than the bank. When the upperclassman next door plays good music real loud. Taking leave, and showing off your civilian clothes to other plebes. The 150 lb. football team.

Forty guys who used to be known as the "Dirt Plebes" (we know who we are). That exhilaration you feel around the time of "last duty" on a Friday. Undefeated seasons. Completing your first semester without being written up. Finding that the guy two rooms down has a lot in common with you. Being able to look at a Private and identify with the bullshit. Complete silence. Not having to discuss majors, or fields of study. One word: "HUAH". Everything has your name on it. "With Honor In Hand." Walking around with socks down. Getting free stuff when you order a pizza. The "short" Rocket. Restaurants that deliver to Grant Turnaround. Watching the upperclass stress out about their classes. Dessert templates. The way upperclassmen scatter like roaches in a room when the Tac comes around. The weeks where you only have PE twice.

"Cap'n Crunch, Sir may I eat you?" Plebe Bibles, with your name on them. The way the nights fly by when you sleep instead of study. Motivational videos, like "My Hometown." Did I mention boodle? Any part of a movie or TV show that shows the Army in action. Taps at 0100. Whooping it up in a theater during the violent scenes. Knowing you will never succumb to the "Star Wars" epidemic. The cannons at the football games. Or anything that makes a Hell of a lot of noise, as long as it isn't in your face. Finally getting the cracks on your shoes filled in. An afternoon without the incessant jackhammering of the construction crews outside. Having a cool First Sergeant. Getting papers delivered so early, you sill have time for a quick nap. Taking a quick nap even if you don't have time. RECOGNITION DAY.


Larry Schlanser

I would like to offer some words of encouragement to the parents of the New Cadets. Since saying good-bye to your daughters and sons recently, some of you may be experiencing an emotional sense of loss. That's perfectly normal. A wise man once said that in life it's impossible to do something meaningful for the last time without a certain amount of sadness. Whenever I have encountered a few bumps along life's journey, I have found support in the following guidelines:

stay focused,
take it one day at a time,
do not take things personally,
try to maintain your sense of humor and
remember, no one is ever alone!

(If you know someone who could use some encouragement, please feel free to pass these suggestions along.)

Although the New Cadets will not become "official" members of the U.S. Corps of Cadets until Acceptance Day in August, they became "brevet" members of a unique, close-knit "Corps" family on R-Day 2000. (Recognition next spring, will secure these bonds forever.) The USMA will be their home for the next four years. The ascent they will make there during the coming weeks, months and years will, from time to time, become steep. Know, however, that the entire chain of command at West Point will spare no effort to insure that these outstanding young men and women will have every opportunity to succeed and excel. During the coming four years, the Class of '04 will meet and exceed difficult academic, physical and emotional challenges. When the members of this Corps family "grip hands," their line may bend but it will never break. Rest assured that your loved ones at West Point are in good hands.

The cadets at the U.S. Military Academy are our country's best and brightest young leaders. Indeed, they remain in William Wade's words from the 1840s, our "country's hope" for the future. Since its founding, West Point has always been a very special place. The cadets there are "on point" to insure that it will remain so into the future. At their Graduation Banquet, Army Chief of Staff, General Eric K. Shinseki (USMA '65) reminded the members of the Class of 2000 of the singular vision that the current and former members of the Corps hold. General Shinseki noted that to many individuals, the words, "Duty, Honor, Country," offer a unique way of looking at certain things. However, to members of the Long Gray Line, the things these words represent are certain.

Well folks, it's time to go. Thanks for all the wonderful information and insights that my family and I have received "here" over the last four plus years. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Best Wishes and Godspeed,



My oldest son is now a part of the Corps formed at the Oath cermony this past Thursday. This is a fulfillment of four years of high hopes and hard work.

During the summer of 1997, we stopped off at West Point for two hours on our way to a family vacation at Lake George. My son had expressed some interest in the Army during his sophmore year of high school and was facinated by his grandfathers' stories of WWII and the Korean War. We spent some time at the Visitor's Center and Museum and took a drive through the campus. By the time we moved on, his life objective had been set.

The summer of 1998 was spent at Fort Sill, OK going through nine weeks of basic training for the Army Reserve. You see, in April, on his seventeenth birthday, he enlisted. That summer, most of the days were well over 100 degrees and he worked hard. But when we picked him up in August, he was truly a man, graduating with honors and a appointment to USMA from his camp commandant.

Through his senior year, he garnered his congressional appointment and an appointment from the commanding officer of his Reserve outfit. All this while graduating in the top quartile of his high school class. His SAT scorces were on the cusp, so he was granted admission to USMAPS. And in July, 1999, we sent him off to cadet candidate basic training at R-Day in Ft. Monmouth.

This May he graduated with honors and with his place in the Class of 2004 secured at West Point. Arriving there again this week was a glorious experience. We took a great delight in observing (from afar) the movements of the new cadets throughout the day. And although, from our seats, we could not see our son in Ike Hall taking the oath, our hearts were stirred to hear those voices raised as one to pledge alligience and honor to defend the country.

And so we begin our journey down the Long Grey Line, watching and listening for those who have gone before and preparing for even greater things from the Class of 2004.


Mike Norquist

It has been my experience during my cadet's first year at West Point that every parent and grandparent of a West Pointer will treat your cadet as their very own in any and all situations. They will adopt them on occasions when you can't be there, take them out to eat, send boodle for them when they mail to their own cadet, stuff them full at Army football tailgate parties, invite them into their homes for much-needed weekends away, provide you with their home, office, and cell phone numbers so you can contact them to come to the aid of your cadet when distance prohibits your getting there in the event your cadet needs someone immediately, and generally be some of the best friends you could ever ask for.

You will also find this kind of behavior in West Point grads and their families. My cadet was treated to a dinner after a baseball game this summer when the 1950 grad saw his name and school on the baseball program. They recited "knowledge" in unison over dessert. At Christmas break two grads saw my cadet in the airport and were bound and determined to drive him 150 miles in the opposite direction of their destination so he wouldn't have to wait for a ride.

There is no where else in the world that I know where such strong bonds are formed, and it makes me so proud of all of us.

Happy Independence Day!

Billie Turley

My cadet is the youngest of four. I had always been so proud that I had mentally and emotionally prepared not only my offspring, but also myself for their departure from home. Our family has a reputation of being very independent individuals.

However, the West Point experience was a different story. I told myself that my thinking of him every waking hour - wanting to know how he was and what he was doing - was because I knew so little about the military. Others told me that it was because he was my youngest (I still don't buy that). My husband and I both worked extra hours to pay for trips to WP. I pored over every web site that I could find (at that time we did not have the parent forum site with the weather and other wealth of information - I read the Plebe Parent Source Book from cover to cover - memorizing certain facts; I even hung the CBT schedule with his daily activities highlighted on the refrigerator - then spent all of my free time the remainder of the day praying for him and the other cadets in his company. West Point and its adventures seem to grab us parents as other college experiences do not.

From discussions with many cadets, I have learned they do much better than their parents. From messages on these parent forums, you would think that every family plans on seeing their cadet at every opportunity - not true. There are parents who may likely express the opinion that it is time for you/me and those like you/me to "let go". The comments/advice will vary on every subject. I would like to stress to all of you that none of you be offended when "advice" does not fit your family needs. Each of our families are as individual as we individuals, including our cadets. As long as we adhere to West Point's guidelines, there is no right or wrong - only what is best for your cadet and your family.

The plebe year will seem sooo long as you endure it & at the end it will be difficult to believe it was so short. Soon you will be the proud parent of a yearling, then a cow and then a firstie! As my cadet starts his third year, it is difficult to believe the time has passed so rapidly. While the separation anxiety is over, there are still times I find myself engrossed in his activities of the day.

Take comfort that your experience is normal. The earlier advice of **trying** not to take emotional/frustrated calls personal is the best. However, I am not sure it is possible. Just do your best! Some parents receive those calls throughout the year; others only seldom. I recall well the only time our cadet told his father he was going to quit just before recognition. A few days later, he laughed and said he had just had a bad afternoon. Though he had never been serious, he sounded serious to his Dad & we spent the most miserable few days of our lives! To this day, I do not know how parents of cadets that see-saw back and forth between leaving and staying cope. Yet, I know the cadets must be in a quandary too.

Find someone for support and take one day at a time. Most of my fears and difficulties plebe year were from my cadet not informing me -- he still doesn't! But the parent forum and plebe net, as well as an active parents club are wonderful resources as are other cadets - the wonderful thing about a group of cadets is that they wind up comparing their experiences and you get to listen!

If any of you would like to contact me directly, please do. There were many who gave me support, and I would feel honored to do the same for some of you.

Welcome to the West Point Family - its bonds are indescribable!

Happy Fourth of July,
-Sharon (02 Mom)

Just a comment on the Acceptance Day Parade.....This is definitely worth seeing, even if your cadet is not marching. True, it is way more meaningful if your child is out there but this is one of the few times you will see the entire corps of cadets on the plain together. People come to see this parade who don't even have children at the academy. My son was involved in a fall sport and didn't march in it his last two years up there and we still enjoyed the parade tremendously.

Just listen to the parents who have said not to expect too much from your kids on that day. Go with the understanding that they will be tired, stressed, and sometimes miserable. Plant a smile on your face and learn to just listen and make the best of it. In a couple of months you when mention how grumpy they were they probably won't even remember.

You do often have to wait a long time for them to be released. Station someone from your group at the meeting place and take turns touring the sights. In the 4 years we went up there, and we were there quite a bit, we had never seen the cemetary....very interesting....nor the inside of the Old Chapel. Tell the person who is waiting at the designated spot where you'll be and enjoy your time to roam. Take a book or magazine and just relax while waiting. Have patience! The USMA doesn't work on our schedules. The sooner you learn that the better things will be. Smile and just go with the flow. The cadets will see that on your face and they will finally relax a little too.

I wish I had done all the things I just mentioned but I learned the hard way. Most of us sat for a long time waiting and getting upset wondering where the heck the kids were. We had ourselves convinced they must have gotten in huge trouble and we were never going to see them. The best part was when you thought you saw them about 25 times and it wound up no being your kid at all!

These 4 years go so fast! Don't sweat the small stuff. There are worse things than spending an afternoon waiting for your sons or daughters at beautiful WP. Enjoy the surroundings and relax. Soon enough, it will all be a memory!

Best of luck to the class of 2004 parents and cadets.

class of 2000 mom

What better time and place to connect with the rich heritage of our great nation than July 4th at the USMA. I know the challenge is hard to accept, but the hardness of the challenge is what makes the prize so valuable. To all of the class of 2004 best wishes as you strive to become a part of the Long Grey Line! It will be an accomplishment that you will treasure always.

David Bumgardner

That is the eternal gratitude that I - and I think I could speak for all of us out here - as a West Coast parent feel about the inclusion of our "orphaned" cadets by those parents who get to West Point for various occasions.

Just the other day, our Cow (isn't there some other term we could use for female cadets in this year!!!?) made reference to knowing a cadet's brother at the Air Force Academy because she had met him several times when she was at their house and also when the parents had taken her out for dinner. But that is only one of many many incidents of "adoption" she has experienced.

Yes, the few times we have been able to connect with cadets, we too have included those without parents - but for us who live so far away it just seems that more often than not it is you other parents who are hosting our children. I would just like to express profound thanks. I truly feel this is some sort of extension of the Long Gray Line and all it stands for.

Welcome Class of 2004! May you too be touched by the experience of this spirit of the LGL!

Charlotte Lamp (Anne '02)
dclamp@uswest.net GO ARMY SOFTBALL!!

If I may, I'd like to share a bit of advice to Parents of 2004. This was extremely helpful for Beast and Plebe year:

Your cadet may call, write, or e-mail you sounding very discouraged and frustrated. Don't react immediately. Listen to the conversation. Be a positive support. This might sound easier to say than do, but don't get too worked up or worried. Once a frustration is vented, the cadet actually feels better.

My rule of thumb was to wait for 5-10 e-mails or a couple of phone calls. By then life was better at the academy, and an achievement was being shared. The original frustration or concern was long forgotten. Even a reference to the comment was generally met with, "oh that, it worked out fine . . . didn't I tell you?" or "Disregard the previous e-mail, I was just venting."

This first year is a challenge for both the cadet and parents. Hang in there, you know your cadet and what works best. You'll do fine.


The following is a document I wrote about this time last year. I intended to send it to my Cadet last year shortly after R-day but I never completed it and thus never sent it to him. I thought that some of you may be able to add your own "Words of Wisdom" to this and personalize it for your son or daughter.

Words Of Wisdom

1). Take one day at a time. Don't worry about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow.

2). Maintain your sense of humor

3). Don't take anything personal. The Cadet who is in your face may forget who you are 5 minutes later.

4). The Upperclass Cadets are really there to help you learn the system.

5). Most of the Cadets are only a couple of years older than you. They are learning how to be leaders and will make mistakes themselves. Their mistakes will be quietly corrected by the cadre while your mistakes will be corrected in public.

6). Remember, Mom and I will always be here for you. Your home is always here. We won't be renting out your room or anything.

7). After CBT, (6 weeks), we will either be up at West Point to visit you or you will be coming home for a visit at least once a month thru Christmas.

8). I've already bought plane tickets home for you over Labor Day if you are able to get off.

9). Go to Church services and other church group activities- it will give you strength and it is also a time when you can be at ease without the upperclassmen bothering you. They used to have long coffee hours after.

10). Maintain a positive attitude. Its going to be tough but a positive attitude will get you through.

11). After the first few days, almost every day will be easier than the day before.

12). Some Cadets actually love CBT.

13). Your squad/platoon members are your family at West Point. You must work together and cooperate and get support from them. (That's why parents are not allowed to visit and phone calls are few).

14). Mom or I or both will be writing you every day.

15) When they assign mentors/sponsors be sure and get one. You'll have opportunities to go over to their house periodically during the summer to relax and eat some non-mess hall food.

17). Some of the things you are doing during CBT will seem really stupid and you probably won't understand why you had to do them until you are an Upperclassman working at CBT.

18). No matter how good you are at everything, the upperclassman will find something you don't do well to make you humble. Expect this to happen.

Larry Schlanser

Acceptance weekend is a challenging time for some. Our experience is that West Point challenges every cadet at some point and at some level. Acceptance Weekend can be a tough time for those who have experienced a great deal of stability in their "former" lives. We have lived in the same place and our cadet went to the same school with many of the same classmates for 12 years prior to West Point. In the few days preceding Acceptance Day, he found himself separated from the friends he had made in his Beast company, had been placed with new roomates in a new company with a complete new chain of command, had his first Saturday Morning Inspection and received his homework assignments for his new classes which would begin on Monday. (If you aren't familiar with the Thayer method, they do homework first, then are tested, and THEN the teacher lectures) His stress level was really high and it was a "bad" time for all of us. By the end of the next week, he had adapted and was doing better.

I don't want to discourage anyone from going for that weekend. Acceptance Parade celebrates the accomplishment of successfully completing Beast and to be there to watch your cadet join that incredible Corps is an experience no one who can be there should miss. I just wanted to let you know that cadets react differently to different stresses. Some parents will find their cadets "high" after their accomplishments and looking forward to the years. Others may find their cadets "stressed" and hesitant about the year. Be there, Be Supportive and celebrate and encourage your cadet.

Bruce & Nancy Sharp bruces36@aol.com

To the 2004 parents:
You are about to begin a journey that will amaze you. I wish you joy.
To the 2004 cadets,
I wish you good luck and good health. Your lives will never be the same. Remember, that each day, there are unseen hands supporting you through all of the rough spots.
GO 2004 !!!!

Dian Welle
Acton Ca., USA
Fri, 23 Jun 2000 09:43:29


I can really second the awesome experience of being able to spot your cadet at the Swearing In ceremony on Trophy Point. It was a surprise to us when we arrived last year to find out how close up we would be able to see the new cadets. Since you will know what your new cadet's company is before or during R Day, it makes it a little simpler to find them. One thing I did notice that was disconcerting was that numerous parents literally RAN to try to follow their cadet almost all the way to the barracks after the oath. Being a loving Mom, I started following too. Then the sight of all the parents in front of me was startling! I decided that it was a bad idea, and that I needed to let out son go forward without his Mom running after him.

At Christmas time, I told him about it, and he said he was VERY glad that I did not try to follow him back to the Barracks. He said that although it was great to see us so close at the swearing in ceremony, it was hard not to reach out for a hug (absolute no-no.) It was all he could do to maintain his 1000 yard stare. We actually stood right next to him at the ceremony. We literally COULD (did not) touch him, we could hear him breathing. It was such a proud, joyful, and heart breaking moment!!!! I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

We are hoping for weather a tad less humid for this summer!

Jeff and Cheryl

A piece of advice for those of you taking your sons and daughters to R-Day: If you and your child are not familiar with West Point, do try to plan to spend at least one day before R-Day becoming familiar with the area. Although my son had spent the two day, one night visitation earlier, we were totally new to West Point and the Army. We spent one day at the museum in Highland Falls and the day before R-Day at West Point. I am sure it helped him to become acquainted -- I know it did his father and me. We have some wonderful pictures of him for his scrap book -- with hair in front of the WP barber shop is my favorite :~)

We also met another plebe family on our "tour". The bond between us all is so special (I know that Rachel and I supported one another through the entire plebe year) -- although the boys have only been assigned together once - and that was during the Fort Knox training - they remain dear friends. They spent a great deal of time together that day --the beginning of the bond better known as the Long Gray Line - an indescribable bond. Also, during his last call home before A-Day, we were able to make arrangements to meet because we had some common understanding of the area.

I haven't seen it mentioned on the plebe-net, but want all of you parents to know the most encouragement for me -- and you will need it as much as your sons and daughters -- has been learning over the last 2 years how very much the cadets look out for one another. I could relate to you many wonderful stories of compassion and concern that cadets in the class of 02 have shown for one another as well as tales of compassion involving behavior on the part of upper classmen towards the class of 02. The stories have been slow to reach me as your sons and daughters adventures will be slow in reaching you. Be assured the cadets do look after one another. I am convinced it is the real reason for the tight bond known as the Long Gray Line.

My husband and I are making the trip back to West Point for graduation to pick up our son for a few weeks home before Air Assault School. The time has gone by soooo fast. The days in that first year were filled with both exhilarating joy and sleepless nights of concern. Ups and downs were so frequent, they took our breath. This second year has been so very different. They were very few downs and the highs were not as breath taking. He seems to be plugging along at a steady pace. The tone of his voice may still be rushed now, but is one of cheerfulness and satisfaction. Your sons and daughters will take time to adjust - and then your lives will even out too - so get ready and hang on for the ride!

If ever any of you desire to contact me personally, please do. Don't know if I'll have the answer, but will be glad to offer any assistance possible.

Best wishes to your new cadets and to all of you!

Sharon (02 Mom)

Dear Parent Forum Members:

You may remember last summer we solicited your thoughts on how the Highland Falls community could improve to help make your visits to West Point more enjoyable. Your ideas inspired the Highland Falls community to form a group called Vision 2002. Their mission is to make improvements to the community in areas such as Tourism, Beautification, and Business Development. Last summer the Highland Falls community experimented with one of the ideas submitted on this forum. They hosted a reception for all new cadets and their families on the afternoon before R-Day to allow New Cadets and their families to get to know one another and take the edge off of those pre R-Day jitters. It was such a huge success, they are going to have another pre R-Day reception on June 28th from 2-5 p.m. on the front lawn of Holy Innocents Church located on Main Street just outside the front gates of West Point. All members of the class of 2004 and their guests are invited to attend.

The Vision 2002 committee has developed a Highland Falls web site that provides information on upcoming events, dining, hotels, shopping, Eisenhower Hall Theatre performances, and other useful information for visitors of West Point. We encourage you to visit their web site and continue to support their efforts to make Highland Falls a great place visit. You can access the web site at www.vision2002.com

We know that the members of this committee have worked very hard to make this effort a success and they appreciate all the ideas that came from the parents forum.

Rick & Cindy
Dan '02

2004 Parents,

During Beast we had little contact with our Cadet. What we did get was a lot of doubt about his decision to attend WP. For the "New Cadets" and parents, it will be a stressful time that WILL try the souls of the Cadet's decision to have chosen WP. There will be deep consideration about staying at WP. All we could do was provide encouragement via mail and a very short phone call from our "New Cadet." Oh how time has changed all of that type thinking on his part. As with many others, our Cadet finished Beast, was accepted, been recognized, made a WP presentation at his "old" high school during Christmas leave, received his "Yearling Brass" and is apart of WP. Now our Cadet's attitude is, "Boy, soon I'll be 1/4 of the way along to being a 2Lt. in the Army." Nothing worth while comes easy for the Cadet or the parents. They are not fully our children anymore - they are "Cadets of WP."

I would like to add, as an "Old" Command Sergeant Major (retired with 33 years service), I wish I could answer all the 2004 Plebe questions and put all the parents at ease, but that is not possible nor practical. Each of the "New Cadets" and their families will have their own set of circumstances for each given situation. However, if the "load" is shared - it will be lighter. Don't make decisions for the Cadet. Assist them and support them when times are difficult and their decision appears to be incorrect. When they cross the field at Michie Stadium on R-Day, the time for coddling is over and the time for reassurance begins. Be strong for them, respect them. They will show you their strength and they will respect you in return, even more.

Bob & Sherry, '03

The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the map of the world you will find it not,
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.

Nay, not with cannon or battle shot,
With sword or nobler pen,
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouths of wonderful men;

But deep in the walled-up woman's heart -
Of woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently, bore her part -
Lo, there is the battle field!

No marshaling troup, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam or wave,
But oh, these battles, they last so long -
From babyhood to the grave.

Yet, faithful as a bridge of stars,
She fights in walled-up town -
Fights on and on in the endless wars,
Then, silent, unseen, goes down.

Oh, ye with banner and battle shot,
And soldiers to shout and praise,
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.

Oh, spotless in a world of shame,
With splendid and silent scorn,
Go back to God as pure as you came -
The kingliest warrior born!

Joaquin Miller [1837-1913]