Written by Emma Langdon
Last Saturday, my family and I went to West Point and watched an Army versus Navy lacrosse game. It was amazing to see Army’s team spirit in all the students and fans.We rooted for Army since one of our friends was a defender for that team, but unfortunately, after a thrilling game, Army lost to Navy 11-10 in overtime. I thought it was neat seeing students dressed in military uniform spectating the game. After the game, we met up with a family friend who attended West Point for college, and now teaches at West Point.We received a first hand tour of the campus and visited many buildings. We learned some incredible facts and stories about West Point as he toured us around the campus.
The first story that I enjoyed was about the lunchroom. The lunchroom, or “mess hall” is massive, with ornate, detailed architecture and décor.
It has an enormous mural covering one entire wall that depicts famous heroes and battles of history, from ancient warfare to Napoleon.
One day, the electricity went out. The cadets (students) at West Point seized the opportunity to have a huge food-fight. The food-fight only lasted as long as the power was out, but when the power came back on, the mural had been plastered with food. Even after the mural had been cleaned off, it was still damaged, and the colors started fading because of the oils from the food. Eventually, the senior class of that year had to raise money to restore the mural.
I also learned about the tidiness rules that the students were expected to follow. Each dorm room is very Spartan, and has the exact same furnishings. Every morning, the beds have to be made perfectly, the room has to be clean without dust on any surfaces, only three personal items are allowed on the desk, the trash can has to be empty, and the one I think would be the hardest to follow is that no water droplets can be left in the sink. However, there is one item the cadets are allowed to bring a surplus of: books! The number of books cadets can have in their room is not limited, however, all the books must be shelved in height order. If these rules are not followed, the punishment is to spend your weekend marching around campus.
Every night curfew is at 11:30, and the lights out time was at 12:00. Our friend who attended the school told us a funny story about how he and his roommate found a way to weave around this rule. The nights that they knew they would be up very late finishing homework, they would take out a big black tarp and cover the windows with it so that no light would show during the inspections from outside around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.
During the lacrosse game, and older man who was sitting next to us started a conversation with us before the game started. I noticed a large ring with a blue jewel in the middle of it that he was wearing on his hand. He said that both he and his father had attended West Point. Later, I noticed a similar ring on our friend’s hand, and I asked him about it.
He said that it was a ring that he got the year he graduated and that each student gets one. He also said that it was very important to him saying that if his house were on fire, this (after his family) would be one of the things he would save if he could.
My favorite building we saw was the library. The illustrious library has floors and floors of books, and also contains many special documents, statues, and has paintings and artifacts on display. There was also a beautiful view on a balcony from the top floor. One of the statues I saw was Thomas Jefferson, who established West Point in 1802.
This was significant to me because it showed that the school respects one of our most important founding fathers who also loved literature, so it made perfect sense to have this statue in the library.
I really enjoyed our visit to West Point and the tour, and I would recommend visiting it if anyone is ever nearby.
Written by Emma Langdon