"Mansions of the Lord" performed by the Cadet Glee Club of West Point
In 2003 after my father had died, I returned to West Point stressed out and feeling very alone. It happened to be the anniversary of one of the cohort classes--the year of which I cannot remember--which had fought and lost in Vietnam. They were holding a vigil out on Trophy Point and the day after I returned to school, I joined a small group of the Glee Club to sing Mansions of the Lord for them.
We were new, the plebes, and hadn't really had time to learn the words and music as well as we would have liked, nor had we been properly taught to wear the sash and uniform correctly. There was a lot of risk assumed by the upper classmen in letting us represent the Glee Club to these Old Grads.
I remember walking out to Trophy Point feeling a little like everyone was looking at me. While I knew it wasn't true, I couldn't help but feel that everyone knew I'd just lost my father and that they were treating me differently. When I finally got to Trophy Point a Firstie, Adam Snyder, came up to me and asked if I could help him study for Arabic during duties that night. I realized what he was doing--he was offering me a way out of duties that would allow me to study for Arabic without necessarily giving me an "unfair advantage". I appreciated his offer and took it immediately, and there began a relationship between him and I that lasted for years--he was younger than me, but far wiser, and remained a mentor as I Commissioned and became a Lieutenant years later.
We sang Mansions of the Lord that day and many days thereafter for graduates who had fallen--we sang it for a widow who had just lost her husband in Iraq, we sang it in Notre Dame the night before a football game when West Point had just lost three graduates in Afghanistan, and we sang it at our graduation concert in honor of my Father who, while not a graduate, was a Veteran.
Between that day and this we have lost many gradautes--friends and classmates--to the ongoing wars. The Glee Club has seen its own share of voices silenced too soon--and just this week we lost another--a beautiful and funny woman who sang with me that day--Sara Cullen.
We sang this song together many times--for for her I repost today.