On this day in 1976, enrollment into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York opened to women. Four years later, the Academy commissioned 62 female cadets as second lieutenants.
Our duty… our country
First, here is the Cadet Prayer:
O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of Human 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 pretence 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 jeopardy.
Guard us against flippancy and irreverance 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.
Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives 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 all.
AMEN (emphasis added)
Second, here is the opening to the Academy’s poetic hymn, The Corps:
THE CORPS! (x3)
The Corps, bareheaded, salute it, with eyes up, thanking our God. (emphasis added)
God and gallantry
Finally, this is the ROTC Cadet Creed:
I am an army cadet. Soon I will take an oath and become an army officer committed to defending the values which make this nation great. Honor is my touchstone. I understand mission first and people always. I am the past—the spirit of those warriors who have made the final sacrifice. I am the present—the scholar and apprentice soldier enhancing my skills in the science of warfare and the art of leadership. But above all, I am the future—the future warrior leader of the United States Army. May God give me the compassion and judgment to lead and the gallantry in battle to win. I will do my duty. (emphasis added)
General George Washington considered the commanding plateau of West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. So, in 1779 he transferred his headquarters to the new fort. Even with the traitorous treason of Benedict Arnold, Fortress West Point has never been captured, making it the oldest, continuously occupied military post in the United States of America.