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Bill Thayer

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Chapter 17

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
West Point

Elizabeth D. J. Waugh

published by
The Macmillan Company,
New York, 1944

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p239  Appendix

 p241  Cadet Prayer

O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of men's hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.

Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jealousy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellow­ship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. May we find genuine pleasure in clean and wholesome mirth and feel inherent disgust for all coarse-minded humor. Help us in our work and in our play to keep ourselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight, that we may the better maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied, and acquit ourselves like men in our effort to realize the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of men. Amen.

Written by Colonel C. E. Wheat

Professor of English and former Chaplain

U. S. M. A.

 p242  The Corps​a

The Corps! Bareheaded salute it,

With eyes up, thanking our God

That we of the Corps are treading

Where they of the Corps have trod —

They are here in ghostly assemblage,

The men of the Corps long dead,

And our hearts are standing attention

While we wait for their passing tread.

We, sons of today, salute you —

You, sons of an earlier day;

We follow, close order, behind you,

Where you have pointed the way;

The long gray line of us stretches

Through the years of a century told,

And the last man feels to his marrow

The grip of your far-off hold.

Grip hands with us now, though we see not,

Grip hands with us, strengthen our hearts

As the long gray line stiffens and straightens

With the thrill that your presence imparts.

Grip hands — though it be from the shadows —

While we swear, as you did of yore,

Or living, or dying, to honor

The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps!

By the late Bishop H. S. Shipman

Former Chaplain of the Military Academy

 p243  Alma Mater

Hail, Alma Mater dear,

To us be ever near,

Help us thy motto bear

Through all the years.

Let duty be well performed,

Honor be e'er untarned,

Country be ever armed,

West Point, by thee.

Guide us, thy sons, aright,

Teach us by day, by night,

To keep thine honor bright,

For thee to fight.

When we depart from thee,

Serving on land or sea,

May we still loyal be,

West Point, to thee.

And when our work is done,

Our course on earth is run,

May it be said, "Well done;

Be thou at peace."

E'er may that line of gray

Increase from day to day,

Live, serve, and die, we pray,

West Point, for thee.

by P. S. Reinecke

Class of 1911

 p244  The Soldier's Alma Mater​b

Here, where resistlessly the river runs

Between majestic mountains to the sea,

The Patriots' watch fires burned: Their constancy

Won Freedom as an heritage for their sons.

To keep that Freedom pure, inviolate,

Here are the Nation's children schooled in arts

Of Peace, in disciplines of War; their hearts

Made resolute, their wills subordinate

To do their utmost duty at the call

Of this, their Country, whatsoe'er befall.

Broadcast upon our History's ample page

The records of their valiant deeds are strown.

Proudly their Alma Mater claims her own.

May she have sons like these from age to age!

Edward Singleton Holden

June, 1902

Thayer's Notes:

a Untitled in the printed edition, but universally known as "The Corps". The hymn was first sung at the last regular service in the Old Cadet Chapel, June 12, 1910 (George S. Pappas, The Cadet Chapel, p59).

[decorative delimiter]

b A sonnet. The omission of the title in the printed edition seems to have been deliberate, to avoid confusion: I found the title attached to it in an online scan of Jamestown Tributes and Toasts, a compendium of patriotic quotes and verse by Julia Wyatt Bullard, 1907.

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Page updated: 3 Aug 12