Wednesday, February 29, 2012

West Point Military Academy

There is no such institution.
There is a taxpayer-supported college
At West Point, NY, which is officially,
The United States Military Academy.

In recent years, the name and location
Has been conflated into the WPMA.
Old grads like me cringe at that reference
Whenever we see or hear it in the media.

But our Association of Graduates and the
Domain of the official website now use
West Point as their identification of
The organization that they serve.

None of the other service academies
Can do that, although sometimes
The Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD
Was informally referred to as "Annapolis."

That makes no sense literally, because
Annapolis is the state capital of Maryland
And a historic city in its own right,
That happens to have USNA next door.

West Point, NY, however, is the academy.
That is, it is a tract of land owned by
The U.S. Government, i.e., the taxpayers
For the sole purpose of housing the academy.

It was not always so, of course.
West Point was the point on the Hudson River
Across which was stretched the Great Chain
To prevent a British linkup in the Revolution.

After the war, it became a school for
Training cadets for the Corps of Engineers,
Then logically became the site for an academy
To educate officers of the Regular Army.

We have to recognize and perhaps rejoice
At the misnaming of our Alma Mater and that
It is "West Point" that is engraved on our rings,
And to whom we sing "Hail Alma Mater'

Marketers call name recognition a priceless asset.
Which can be exploited, to be sure, but is also
An intangible spirit that has to be lived up to
By those who benefit from its existence.

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