THE WEST POINT CEMETERY

 

On the wind-swept plains high above the Hudson River, the cemetery at West Point has a long history. It served as a burial ground for early residents of the area and then Revolutionary War soldiers long before 1817 - the year it became an official military cemetery.

 

The grounds encompass eleven acres and feature a wide variety of trees: magnificent

willows, Russian elms, and the rare Ginkgo tree among them. There are graves from each of America’s wars, and include those killed by arrows, musket balls, Viet Cong ambush, space capsule fire, improvised explosive devices, accidents, and natural deaths. Counted among the dead are sixteen Medal of Honor recipients, twenty-six Civil War generals, and twenty-five Academy superintendents.

 

There is no designated walking tour of the grounds, nor is there a special criteria for the placement of graves; cadets are buried beside generals.  Wherever one walks, familiar names from the nations past leap out.

 

Many of these individuals, often rivals in life, lie united in final rest awaiting the ultimate

trumpet call to sound. Their eternal places of rest, so peaceful in the tree-lined groves along the calm Hudson River, defy the tragic and sometimes violent deaths of many here. Yet, it is fitting that these leaders with glory-filled laurels to their names, have come to tranquility at the institution that was so central to their lives, and vital to the nation they so gallantly served.

 

Honoring all those interred here would take an encyclopedic work, as many have had volumes written on their careers.  This book highlights the lives of the most famous, but pauses to consider the graves - as one will do when wandering the grounds -  of those whose lives and passing would be unheralded except by their families and classmates.

 

This book is not a scholarly treatise, but a panorama of American history expressed in the lives and deaths of those men and women buried at West Point.

 

 

Originally released in 2013, now reorganized & expanded to include

190 pages, 400 pictures, most in full color.

Featuring 220 individuals - their graves, service pictures,

and biographical highlights.  Softcover.