Penned against the backdrop of fall and spring reunion weekends at West Point, returning members of the Long Gray Line venture out onto the Plain and Trophy Point in the early morning hours before the Alumni Review...and in that time remember.
In Their Eyes
Ere cloaking Hudson mist gave birth to pensive early dawn,
And warming sun imbued the day with color’s magic wand,
Some walked the quiet of that time recalling what had been,
When younger then, they too were called, a country to defend.
So much the same, the sight and sound and scent upon the wind,
Roused memory of former times, sweet chapters deep within.
When first the Corps assembled there, uncertain what to be,
Til men of worth and men of faith saw clear its destiny.
Three hallowed words would cross their lips, a motto ever be.
The first was DUTY, selfless love, to serve a nation free.
Then HONOR next, a guarding shield against the tempter’s sting.
And COUNTRY followed, sacred trust, of which they’d often sing.
The river’s might, the circling hills, beneath God’s brilliant arch,
Called forth to mind those harried times when they, too, formed to march.
When shoes and brass were made to shine, and belts the purest white
Were donned on black trimmed coats of gray, beneath a dress hat bright.
Behind them lay so much of life since first they wore the gray,
When light their step and clear their eye, they savored each new day.
Those happy times of West Point years, when bonds for life were made,
Til oaths were sworn and forth they went, their mettle to be weighed.
Still on they walk on legs grown old, with eyes that strain to see,
But gaining strength with every step, infused by history,
By classmates gone whose deeds on earth live on in mind and heart,
Remembered friends in marbled stone who bravely did their part.
What’s that they hear upon the Plain, but sound of fife and drum,
As turn they all to join a class whose time to march has come.
And march they do with heads held high before the grateful throng,
And with them wait for freedom’s band to call the new guard on.
The granite walls release their hold and free the waiting Corps,
Young men and women marching forth to martial music score.
They pass the Line, their span of years, as eyes look right to see,
And in their eyes catch full a glimpse of who they’ll one day be.
All sense a spirit in the air, a bond across the stage,
As eyes grow moist and hearts beat fast, uniting all in age.
The young march off and leave the plain, the stirring music dies,
But those who stay, inspired so, renew their lifelong ties.
God grant them mercy in your will, the Black and Gold and Gray,
To find a servant’s resting place, when comes the final day.
With family, friends, The Long Gray Line, eternity to share,
Immortal life by heaven’s grace with all who gather there.