Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Grad Week...

Grad week has begun and the slow uphill battle that is graduation, like slow ticking of a roller coaster up the last crest, is over. I am now, my friends, on the fast and furious downhill thrill ride portion. Begining yesterday, my mom, Aunt and Uncle came to West Point. My mother for the third time (Mother's Day Yuk year and Ring Weekend this year), and my Aunt and Uncle for the first time.

I took them on the tour (Cullem, Grant, Thayer and Ike Halls) yesterday and today, we toured the cemetery and the chapels. I saw this fountain (which I had seen before) but read the inscription below. It is really a beautiful place durring the day, haunted by the stories and lives of those who lived and are now burried there, but each stone representing someone who died in the faith his/her life was lived and sacrificed for something bigger than themselves. The fountain below was erected for the son-in-law of a graduate. It has pillars of granite (the stone of choice for West Point) from each of the quarries in NY, which is why they are differently colored.

Today was the Alumni Review. It was the first parade my mom was able to see (and obviously the same for my Aunt and Uncle). The parade is really a sight. The grads
from the fifty year cohort class (1957) and older parade across diagonal walk. There were grads from 57, 37 even 32 there. My family met a really nice man from 52 who we talked to for a while. He told us about his experience in Korea and a little about Cadet Shea (now known for Shea stadium named after him). I suddenly realized that he was part of what I'd studied in Military Art that semester--not an idea, or a textbook or anything less real than the little old, happy man before me. How amazing that I had that brief time with him...

We also had my final Glee Club concert tonight marking the last time I would ever sing with such a good chorus. You see, many people sing in chamber choirs, or church choirs or other groups, but there is really no civic or religious group I am involved with which will afford me such an opportunity. I tried not to tear up as we sang the Armed Forced Medley, where people who have served stand as their respective service songs are sung. I can never help myself from seeing a hole where my father should be standing. Afterwards, it feel to me this time to introduce the song Mansions of the Lord, recorded for the movie We Were Soldiers. They had asked the Cadet Glee Club to record it for the movie and it has since become a tradition to dedicate it to soldiers who have given their lives when we sing it. We have sung it for Old Grads, Cadets and others who are involved, but tonight, they allowed me to dedicate it to my father.

I was only able to get halfway through the dedication before I was too teary eyed to speak coherently, but the Club sounded amazing as they sang it, and I could see how moved my sister, mom and Aunt and Uncle were--that was a memory I will never forget and I have the Glee Club to thank for it.
Afterwards, we took a mother/son picture with Jim, my old roomate, and AJ, a friend from Glee Club. The lighting is odd, but the Army jerseys in the background are cool...not to mention, having our mothers there always make a son's heart proud.

The Dean was there, and he knew me by my first name. As I was walking out, a gentleman who I assume was an old grad (based upon the blue blazer w/ class lapel crest) stopped me and shook my hand. He said, "Congratulations Adam." and it was apparent I did not recognize him. He got a bit of a sly grin and said, "It's OK, you don't know me, but I've read your blog..." I was a bit shaken at first and immediately tried to recall if there was anything I'd written that I shouldn't have. He congratulated me on the concert and reassured me that that was not the case and moved on. It was an odd moment really, surreal, but nice. While I started this blog to keep in touch with a small group of friends, the idea that other people may read what I write is...I don't know what the word is, but, it's interesting.

In any case, the bottom of my roller coaster is fast approaching and soon, I'll have thrown my hat in the air, put on Army Green and driven away from West Point for the last time as a cadet. Accepting the fact that things change, that I grow, and that I must move on is something new to me, but, something I think I'm getting better at.

In any case, enough with me being sappy. If you're in SD June 23, let me know. I should be having a killer graduation party at the old Fallbrook Harmon Manor!


Blogger Alex said...

I can't wait! And I'm so happy for you. I just have to comment on the "I've read your blog" thing, because the same thing happened to me with a farmer couple that I always see at the market. I had linked to their website once and they had googled themselves to see who was mentioning them. Next time I went to buy some of their beef it was, "Hey! It's Dill Seeds!" I had the same reaction--shoot what did I say? But they liked it.

3:09 PM  

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