At 5:30 AM on Saturday morning, it was time to get up. Dad and I were heading out on a very early morning run before the day’s activities. (Gotta keep up on my cross fitness!) When we stepped out the door to run, I almost ran back inside. It was cold! What?! Yes. It was chilly that Saturday morning in New York; I wasn’t used to such strange weather. But, I toughened up and we began our 30 minute jog around the town.
After our run, Dad and I got ready for the Acceptance Day parade. I think I got ready in record time–showered, dressed, hair dried & straightened, and make-up on in under 45 minutes (yes, I know, that’s still a pretty long time..). We made it out the door, breakfast in hand (Larabar + banana) a few minutes before 8.
The drive from Scott’s (Andy’s sponsor) house to USMA campus is about 15-20 minutes. The drive is a beautiful one, as you go up and down mountains and twist your way past forests on curvy lanes. Once we arrived on the campus, we found a stellar parking spot and started walking around before we took our seats for the parade. Dad took me to the Cadet Chapel, which is the Protestant Chapel on campus (there is also a Catholic chapel).
I felt like I was Italy again, taking these pictures!
The stained glass windows in the Chapel were all created by one family.
The perfectly aligned books.
Pictures at the Chapel, with the campus and forests in the background.
Go Army! Beat Navy!
After the Chapel tour, we decided to head down to the field where the parade would take place because the stands were already beginning to fill up. We took a seat on the side bleachers, where it was shady and there was a nice breeze. The weather was perfect for the parade! We anxiously waited on the bleachers for an hour.
This is the field where the parade will take place (the library is he large building on the far left). Now, it isn’t really a parade, like a Fourth of July parade. This parade is more like a march onto the field, and the cadets will show their drill moves, like saluting.
Finally, at exactly 10 o’clock, the parade began. The marching band (USMA has two separate bands; the marching band below, and the spirit band, which is the band that plays at football games. Both bands are real good!) started off the parade. They sure were troopers; they played throughout the entire ceremony!
Can you spot the drum major in the front?
The new cadets (very soon to be cadets!) marching out to take their place on the field. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors of USMA are in the back.
The entire plebe class (freshman) lined up, waiting to be accepted.
Almost the entire student population was on this field–around 4,000 cadets. There were also some exchange students from the Naval and Air Force Academies, along with foreign exchange students from military schools overseas. You could pick them out in the crowd because they were dressed in their specific uniforms. Everyone demonstrated drill techniques, the National Anthem was played, and then…
After the acceptance, the entire corp marched off the field, and it was soon time to go meet up with Andy! Dad and I walked through the bleacher crowds, picked up some provided boxed lunches in case Andy was hungry, and listened to the spirit band play. We thought we had about an hour before meeting with Andy, but then we saw freshman walking around, greeting family members! So, we quickly walked to Eisenhower Hall, the designated meeting spot. After about 10 minutes, I saw Andy walking towards us; I could tell it was him by his walk. He saw us, with a big smile on his face, and I found myself beaming, too. Dad went up first to give him a hug, and then it was my turn. There he was! After 6 weeks it was so exciting to see him. My brother was a newly accepted cadet of USMA!
The rest of the day was spent lounging around the house, eating Andy’s favorite meals (pasta with spicy Italian sausage for lunch & steak with sweet corn and mashed potatoes for dinner), catching up, and watching movies. This weekend was for Andy to relax and get away from campus before classes began. It was also a chance for Andy to call some of his friends and catch up with the happenings at home. It was great to see my brother, and to hear of his experiences during CBT.
That night, Andy had to return to campus to sleep, but he could be picked up early the next morning to spend the day with us again.
As I went to sleep Saturday night, I missed my brother; I missed him at home and not seeing him everyday. But, another part of me was so proud of what he had accomplished this summer, and of what he would accomplish in the future.
A feeling of patriotism surged through me, and I had an appreciation for all the cadets who had already pledged to the honorable duty of serving our country.
Have a great Friday!