Spottys Spurs
Since Oct 27, 2001

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There's a monument at The United States Military Academy at West Point that is very special for me. A number of years ago, I visited The Point for a cocktail reception honoring President George Bush. A full parade of The Corps of Cadets and dinner at Eisenhower Hall ended with President Bush being presented with the SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD, an award given to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.

It was a great day, despite the fact that Barbara Bush wasn't there (a remark by the President that drew wild cheers in her honor by the Cadets and guests).

During some off time, my host, a graduate and director of West Point, took me past the Sedgwick Monument, where I exercised the tradition of spinning the rowels on his spurs. Hence my screen pen name (see below for more detail).

I'm easing into retirement, after 37 high stress years in NYC's financial district. More time, now, to spend reading, planting, shooting photography and targets, golf and, looking after the American ideals of life, as expressed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights!

Sedgwick Monument: This memorial to Major General John Sedgwick from the members of his last command, the 6th Army Corps, was dedicated in 1868. Sedgwick was an 1837 USMA graduate who fought in many of the major battles of the Mexican War. During the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness, he rallied his soldiers to victory. Sedgwick was later killed at the Battle of Spottsylvania in 1864. His statue reportedly was cast from the Confederate cannon captured by his 6th Corps.

Legend holds that if a cadet is deficient in academics, the cadet should go to the monument at midnight the night before the term-end examination, in full dress, under arms, and spin the rowels on the monument's spurs. With luck, the cadet will pass the test. (Yes, it works.. it certainly brought me good fortune!).