Monday, January 28, 2008

Much Of The History We Teach Was Made By People We Taught

So says one of the many recruiting posters put out by West Point, and the saying is true even when war is not the topic under discussion.

Baseball? Invented by a West Pointer.
Whistler's Mother? Painted by a West Pointer.
Chrysler Bonneville, and/or the Bonneville Salt Flats? Named for a West Pointer.
Panama Canal? Construction supervised by a West Pointer.
Two US Presidents, and a few foreign presidents? West Point grads.
Robert's Rules of Order? Written by a West Pointer.

You get the idea. And there are plenty of other examples.

Most people don't think of West Point, though, when they think about astronauts. That's about to change.

The second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, is a West Point graduate.

So are astronauts Frank Borman, Ed White and about 15 other men who have flown in outer space. At least another 20 West Point graduates were involved in the Explorer I and Apollo projects.

To remind the world of what an impact the U.S. Military Academy had on the early days of space exploration, the West Point Association of Graduates has invested heavily in the courtyard of the new building housing the Saturn V at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The association bought bricks - at $100 a pop - and had the names of those noteworthy graduates etched on each.


DOnalbain said...

Hmmmm local pride dictates I must point out that baseball was not invented by anyone from West Point. It is essentially an English game and is mentioned for example, by Jane Austen. It developed from a game played in Sussex and the south east of England called stoolball.

Michael said...

Abner Doubleday didn't invent baseball, although he was certainly a passable general who served honorably for a long time. Whistler flunked out of West Point after three years, which is twice as long as Timothy Leary (yes, that one) lasted there.

BTW, the class ring was a West Point innovation.

Darren said...

Tell it to the history books! :-)

I didn't know Leary attended West Point. But I know Edgar Allen Poe did. I'm sure we could find some other notable temporary attendees.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure we could find some other notable temporary attendees."

Benedict Arnold??? I suppose it all comes down to how you want to define "attendee." :-)

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

In this case I think we'll just stick with the Military Academy :-)

David said...

Whistler, explaining why he flunked out of West Point: "If silicon had been a gas, I would have been a Major General."