On Saturday, September 17th, our troop went to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point to participate in an Army Athletics sponsored “Scout Day” event.
After finding our assigned parking lot, we walked down to the Cadet Chapel; an imposing structure made of native granite that was dedicated the same year Boy Scouts of America was incorporated: 1910. This chapel is really amazing. It has many colorful stained glass windows and soaring ceilings. It also has the largest chuch pipe organ in the world. On the side wall was a framed, caligraphic reproduction of the “Cadet Prayer”:
O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all. – Amen
Next, we made our way to an athletic practice field where a number of tents had been set up to host various cadet clubs. Our scouts were able to participate in Mixed Martial Arts training (learning how to throw a cadet) and robotics (actually manuevering a robot to complete tasks). At the weclome tent, we each received commemorative patches of the event at no cost.
We moved across the street to the reviewing stands along the edge of “the plain” — an expansive parade ground where the cadets assemble in full, formal uniforms for inspection and review. We watched as the cadets streamed past us and listened to their marching band play effortlessly.
Following the Cadet Review, a helicopter fly-by dropped four skilled parachutists who executed loops and spins as they descended gracefully to the plain. The helicopter performed a hover in front of the reviewing stands and then turned and raced away at tree top level.
After locating the proper bus loading area, we headed back to our cars for lunch. While heading back to the stadium by bus, we met some other scouts who had come to visit from Rhode Island.
Today, the Army “Black Knights” football team was playing against Northwestern. It was an exciting game to watch and the unexpected cloud cover made us glad we had brought sweatshirts to wear over our uniforms — it got quite chilly by the end of the game.
We arrived safely back at FBC by about 8:45.
Photos will be published at our troop’s share site.