posted: October 20th, 2014 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: Certainly one of the most significant stops Janie and I made during our three-week trip to the East Coast was the one we made this past Friday. Both Janie’s parents and my parents are buried at West Point, and we wanted to pay our respects. As well, we included in our walking tour an inspection of some of the graveyard’s old monuments for they preserve so much of our nation’s history.
We wanted to see where Janie lived between 1959 and 1961 when her father served as an Academy doctor and where I lived when my father served between 1946 and 1949 as a tact officer. My dad was also graduated from the Academy.
The graveyard overlooks the Hudson River and first served as a burial ground for soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Officially designated as the West Point cemetery in 1817, it has provided a beautiful resting ground for military men and women — some distinguished, some not so distinguished. Names include figures such as George Custer (not distinguished), General Norman Schwarzkopf, General Winfield Scott, General William Westmoreland, and Master Sergeant “Marty” Maher. Maher was portrayed as a central character in the film “The Long Gray Line,” and appropriately so, for he was the academy’s swimming coach and was considered in the movie as a voice of reason. He taught military dependents how to swim and in 1948 taught me how to do the breast stroke.
Janie places flowers on parent’s grave; marker for my parents (Mom 1914 t0 1999); site of famous author and, not so incidentally, her historic home is now a museum about West Point.
The cemetery includes Medal of Honor winners, and a few men and women whose history complemented West Point history, such as Anna B. Warner, who wrote the children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me.” She became a well-known novelist of the times, but germane is the fact that her former family home is now a museum located on Academy grounds.
The Academy, of course, is not for everyone, and seven years ago I posted a blog about the Military Academy and tried to explain its suitability. Five Gildarts (three generations) attended West Point and it was just assumed I would try and enroll.
First Medal of Honor given during Civil War; side panel of Custer Obelisk who was reinterred after his Little Bighorn debacle; grave stone of William Westmoreland.
I posted images of the Custer obelisk and of the football which serves as the headstone for the famous coach Earl Blake. In short, our visit brought back many memories and we were lucky to have had an absolutely gorgeous day to visit our parents’ graves and refresh our memories of some of our nation’s history.
THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy