Grant Hall: A tale of two Grant Halls

By Sherman Fleek
U.S. Military Academy Historian

Most people associated with the U.S. Military Academy, past and present, do not realize that Grant Hall is unique in two ways. Ulysses S. Grant, USMA Class of 1843, is the first person or historical figure to have a structure memorialized by name at West Point. He is also the only person to have two buildings, at the same site, named after him.
In 1852, the first Grant Hall was completed as the second Cadet Mess Hall — it served roughly 200-300 cadets a day  over the next 50 years. Its footprint was 170-feet long and 62-feet wide and with a ceiling height of 20 feet.
The main hall where the cadets ate was 100 by 50 feet. There was a large kitchen and bakery at the south end, and an officers’ mess in the north.
Grant, who died in 1885, was beloved by most Americans and certainly those in the Army who had served with him in the war. One of those people was Col. Wesley Merritt, USMA Class of 1860, and a “boy wonder” of the Civil War, achieving the rank of major general at age 28.
As superintendent of the academy at the time of Grant’s passing, Merritt decided to honor his former commander and president by naming the Cadet Mess Hall after him in 1887. All previous buildings before and for years to come were known for their function and purpose: the library, academic hall, administration building, riding hall, Central Barracks and so on.
By the turn of the 20th century, Grant Hall was no longer adequate for the needs of the Corps of Cadets. In 1903, it was expanded to accommodate some 1,200 cadets for meals. Yet, the building lacked modern facilities and amenities, which forced officials to build a new mess hall. The southern wings of the current mess hall connected to the Poop Deck, which was completed in 1929, and then the next year, old Grant Hall met the fate of the wrecking ball.
Like the phoenix in Greek mythology, Grant Hall resurrected in a new form as both a hall and a barracks, referred to for years as South Barracks. In 1931, the work was done, Grant once again had a building named after him.
The new Grant Hall was the visitors reception lounge for 50 or more years, where family, guests and girlfriends of the all-male academy until 1976, met the cadets. The cadet hostesses camped out above the main floor, perched in offices with direct view below of the many sofas, easy chairs and seats for guests and cadets. On the walls hung the great battle captains of the past — Eisenhower, Bradley, MacArthur, Devers, Stilwell, Arnold — of the U.S. Army Air Forces, and even non-graduate George C. Marshall.
Changes came decades ago where the lounge became a small cafeteria to meet the needs of the staff and faculty, and where cadets could relax, eat a snack or study before class.
Grant became the Grand Central Station of West Point, the nexus for so much. Then in December 2018, it closed and both the hall and barracks were renovated for $56 million as part of the Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program.
In a way, one could say that Grant Hall has had three lives here at the academy, three completely new versions named after “Unconditional Surrender Grant,” a mediocre cadet who really did not want to attend West Point and never wanted to be an Army officer. Yet, U.S. Grant is one of the most significant graduates of all-time — a distinction well earned.

Class of 2020 ‘Dismissed’: Class of 2020 graduates in historic ceremony on the Plain

A few minutes after 10 a.m. Saturday morning, the West Point Band began to play and 1,107 members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2020 stepped off from the sally ports along Washington Hall and began to march onto the Plain that serves as the centerpiece of the academy.
It was a full-circle moment for the members of the class, for it was on the Plain almost four years ago where they had officially joined the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day parade. It also marked the first time since 1977 that a commencement ceremony was held on the Plain instead of in Michie Stadium.
The sun glistened off the brass buttons decorating the front of their full-dress gray coats as the members of the class marched onto the Plain from opposite sides in twin columns. Along with the red sash designating them as firsties and the cadet saber at their left hip, the traditional cadet uniform had an extra accessory Saturday as each member of the class wore a mask during the march-on. The masks and the location change were only some of the many adjustments to the ceremony caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage throughout the world.
White chairs spaced six feet apart waited for them upon the Plain as they came together one final time for a graduation ceremony that looked like it might not happen at all a few months ago. The class had been scheduled to graduate May 23, but the date was pushed back after the semester was thrown into turmoil by the pandemic.
The Corps of Cadets left for spring break in mid-March expecting to return in a week. Then the virus began to spread, and that short break became an indefinite stay away from the academy.
The Class of 2020 became the first members of the Corps to return during a five-day process beginning May 26. They then entered a 14-day quarantine leading up to the graduation ceremony while finishing the final tasks required of them as cadets.
“I was honestly really happy that we all got to come back and I got to say goodbye,” said 2nd Lt. Nerissa Siwietz, who branched Armor and will begin her career at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. “These people have been with me for the past four years (through) all the really good and bad times. To all come together before we all go off all over the country and the world has been a really good experience.”
Classes throughout West Point’s history have graduated early in times of war to meet the needs of the country, but—as commencement speaker President Donald J. Trump noted—the Class of 2020 became the first to have a delayed ceremony turning their traditional 47-month experience into a 48-month one. Because of the delay, the 1,107 members of the class in attendance and the six additional members who were unable to attend the ceremony, had all been commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army prior to Saturday unlike in a typical year where they are commissioned after receiving their diplomas.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous, but I’m excited,” said 2nd Lt. Iris Yu, who branched Military Intelligence with a branch detail to Chemical. “West Point has taught me that if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. That’s the attitude I’m going into the Army with, which is why I chose Fort Drum as my first duty station. I know it’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth having comes easy.”
Along with the different location, the most notable change was the lack of families and friends filling the stands ready to cheer on their graduate as his or her name was called.
Due to public health concerns, the decision was made to close the ceremony to all visitors who instead had to watch a livestream and cheer from home.
In attendance at the ceremony were Trump, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, who served as distinguished guests. Throughout the ceremony, the class also received words of encouragement from their fellow members of the Long Gray Line including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Class of 1986; Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Class of 1969; and Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins, Class of 1959.
The members of the class were welcomed to the Plain by West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams.
He thanked the second lieutenants’ families and friends who couldn’t attend for supporting the members of the class throughout their time at West Point. He also honored the memory of Class of 2020 member C.J. Morgan, who was killed in a training accident last summer, and gave advice to the new officers as they begin their Army careers.
“Your challenges ahead will require moral and physical courage,” Williams said. “In our great Army, there are Soldiers awaiting your arrival right now wondering if their lieutenant will be worth following. Their loved ones wonder if you will care for their Soldier. Your character and leadership are essential for answering those questions. Be the officer worth following and take care of your Soldiers and their families. Emulate those who have come before you.”
Williams was followed at the podium by Trump, who was making his first visit to the academy as president to serve as the commencement speaker. Trump thanked the members of the class for answering the call to serve in what he called the “most exceptional army ever to take the field of battle.”
Tracing the unbreakable chain of West Point graduates that includes Gens. Douglas MacArthur, George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant, Trump called on the Class of 2020 to add their names, “to this eternal chronicle of American heroes.” They will do so, he said, by following the example of their predecessors and living their class motto of “With Vision We Lead.”
“Today, each of you becomes another link in that unbroken chain, forged in the crucible known as the United States Military Academy, the greatest on earth,” Trump said. “It has given you Soldiers that you can rely on to your right and to your left. Now, we are entrusting you with the most noble task any warrior has ever had—the privilege to carry out the task of preserving American liberty. As long as you remain loyal, faithful and true, our enemies don’t even stand a chance. Our rights will never be stolen. Our freedoms will never be trampled. Our destiny will never be denied and the United States of America will never be defeated.”
After receiving their diplomas and saluting Trump and Williams, the new officers received the order of “class dismissed,” from First Captain 2nd Lt. Daine Van de Wall and threw their hats in the air as helicopters from the 82nd Airborne Division flew overhead.
“Thinking back over the past four years and how myself as well as my classmates have changed, even though we all have the same faces we’re all different people on the back end,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Worth, who branched Armor and will begin his career in Hawaii after attending graduate school. “Having this final event to provide closure, I can’t even describe it. Of course, obviously, I’d love to have my family here and be doing it with all the different traditions and everything, but just having the opportunity to be side-by-side with my classmates and actually toss my hat up in the air finally is amazing.”
Following graduation, the members of the class will begin their Army careers as second lieutenants serving in every branch at posts throughout the world.
Twelve members of the class, including the first two graduates from Kosovo, will return to their home countries to serve in their nations’ armies, further strengthening the bond between the American Army and its allies.

Cohort 5 graduates from Benavidez Leader Development Program

When I joined the U.S. Army, I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to attend an Ivy League college.
From Jan. 26 to Feb. 20, I was able to take advantage of a unique opportunity and attend the Benavidez Leader Development Program at the U.S. Military Academy and Teachers College, Columbia University as part of Cohort 5. The three-week program, named after Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez, is a graduate-level course focused on the West Point Leader Development System and theories of leadership.
The training began with a week-long immersive class on leadership and West Point history taught by BLDP faculty. The various lectures and practical exercises focused on the West Point model of developing leaders of character, organizational culture and change, and academy history.
The first week of class gave 18 of my fellow noncommissioned officers and myself insight into how the academy develops leaders and helps them to realize their potential. We discussed different theories and models related to leadership and adult development.
One of the most impactful classes was emotional intelligence and how we as leaders apply it to our leadership style. Emotional intelligence involves managing, understanding and perceiving one’s own emotions to guide decision-making.
This class was enlightening for me because during my whole military career I have been taught to accomplish the mission and ensure the needs of my Soldiers are met, but never to stop and think about how my actions are perceived. After reflecting on past situations, I could see where emotional intelligence contributed to open dialogue among my peers and subordinates.
While most of our classes took place in the traditional classroom setting, our group was able to gain a unique perspective of West Point when we toured Cullum Hall, the Civil War Memorial and Special Collections. Col. Gail Yoshitani, head of the history department, taught our class about the old West Point and how the academy and the curriculum came to be where it is now.
I found the history of the Civil War and how it affected West Point to be the most intriguing lesson. Although some West Pointers denounced their oath to the United States to fight for the Confederacy, the academy still found ways to recognize those who were still a part of its Long Gray Line.
We ended the week with a trip down to New York City to visit Ulysses S. Grant’s Tomb on Friday morning and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Leadership Academy with a company called Next Jump. The company is quite unique because it concentrates heavily on a healthy work environment and places employees in settings where they can exercise leadership skills. The company allows a certain level of risk for their employees to be challenged and provides feedback so they can perform better to progress in their careers.
When I first entered the office space, I immediately felt welcomed with the open space, warm colors and comfortable furniture. Everyone who greeted us was very open, inviting and conversational. Snack bins stocked with nutritious options such as nuts, seeds and crackers were placed in several locations throughout the building. Employees also had access to an on-site gym along with trainers. There was also an on-site daycare available for their children. Next Jump sums up their culture belief system as “Better Me+Better You=Better Us.”
During the last two weeks of the course, our class relocated to Teachers College, Columbia University. Instructors from Teachers College taught courses in executive coaching, leadership, organizational psychology, group dynamics and organizational change. The curriculum allowed us to learn the concepts and theories, and then apply our skills through practical exercises.
My classmate, Staff Sgt. Courtney Martin, a West Point Band musician, said the course allowed her to learn a lot about herself as well as others.
“I think my biggest takeaway is how important trust and communication are when working in groups,” Martin said. “The Army is made up of camaraderie and teamwork. We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable and show our Soldiers that they can trust us by having an open line of communication.”
Before graduation, Cohort 5 spent the day at S&P Global for a leadership workshop with their Employee Resource Group, Veterans and Allies Leading for Organizational Results. The non-profit organization partnered employees from S&P with Cohort 5 to discuss a case study and develop potential solutions.
This experience not only gave me a better understanding of the corporate world, but it also allowed me to gain another perspective on problem-solving. Our group collaboratively discussed our case-study and all the variables that could affect potential solutions.
Upon completion of the program, I along with 18 other NCOs graduated during a ceremony held in the Thayer Award Room at West Point. Each graduate received a certificate in social organizational psychology accredited by Columbia University.
This entire course was very eye-opening and gave me a better appreciation for leadership and organizational change. I anticipate taking these skills with me throughout the rest of my Army career, and beyond.

West Point Museum’s new exhibition highlights 19th century reality at West Point

The West Point Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring stereographs that allow visitors to experience West Point and the U.S. Military Academy as it appeared between 1860 and 1900.
Stereographs and their accompanying hand-held viewers are the 19th century equivalent to the virtual reality viewers such as Google Cardboard and Oculus that we know today.
Local photographers and large photography shops from New York City produced and reproduced hundreds of stereographs of the academy from the 1860s until the turn of the 20th century.
In 2014, the West Point Museum received a donation of more than 300 stereographs of West Point. The views in this exhibit highlight this remarkable collection and offer a look into cadet life and the military academy’s historic campus from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century.
The West Point Museum is the nation’s oldest federal museum. Its origins can be traced to the American Revolution.
Today, visitors can view the actual weapons, uniforms and memorabilia across American history as well as military artifacts from around the world.
The diverse weapons collection dates to ancient days and includes historic pieces belonging to such figures as George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, John Pershing, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant.
The outstanding art collection includes works by noted artists including James Whistler, Robert Weir, Edouard Detaille and Frederic Remington.
The museum is free to the public and open daily from 10:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. The West Point Museum is located at 2110 New South Post Road.
For more details, call 845-938-3590 or visit www.facebook.com/westpointmuseum.

West Point Museum’s new exhibition highlights 19th century reality at West Point

The West Point Museum has opened a new exhibition featuring stereographs that allow visitors to experience West Point and the U.S. Military Academy as it appeared between 1860 and 1900.
Stereographs and their accompanying hand-held viewers are the 19th century equivalent to the virtual reality viewers such as Google Cardboard and Oculus that we know today.
Local photographers and large photography shops from New York City produced and reproduced hundreds of stereographs of the academy from the 1860s until the turn of the 20th century.
In 2014, the West Point Museum received a donation of more than 300 stereographs of West Point. The views in this exhibit highlight this remarkable collection and offer a look into cadet life and the military academy’s historic campus from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century.
The West Point Museum is the nation’s oldest federal museum. Its origins can be traced to the American Revolution.
Today, visitors can view the actual weapons, uniforms and memorabilia across American history as well as military artifacts from around the world.
The diverse weapons collection dates to ancient days and includes historic pieces belonging to such figures as George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, John Pershing, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant.
The outstanding art collection includes works by noted artists including James Whistler, Robert Weir, Edouard Detaille and Frederic Remington.
The museum is free to the public and open daily from 10:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. The West Point Museum is located at 2110 New South Post Road.
For more details, call 845-938-3590 or visit www.facebook.com/westpointmuseum.

New exhibition at the West Point Museum highlights recent acquisitions

Opening Friday, the West Point Museum will feature an exhibition of artifacts that have recently entered the museum’s collection.
Highlights from the exhibition include some of the recent and significant acquisitions to the museum’s holdings including Gen. Martin Dempsey’s cadet letter jacket.
The pieces span the timeline of global, national and local military history.
The exhibition is only a small sampling of more than 45,000 individual artifacts within the West Point Museum collection, representing the culmination of more than two centuries of military heritage preservation.
The West Point Museum is the nation’s oldest federal museum.
Its origins can be traced to the American Revolution.
Today, visitors can view the actual weapons, uniforms and memorabilia across American history as well as military artifacts from around the world.
The diverse weapons collection dates to ancient days and includes historic pieces belonging to such figures as George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, John Pershing, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant.
The outstanding art collection includes works by noted artists including James Whistler, Robert Weir, Edouard Detaille and Frederic Remington.
The museum is free to the public and open daily from 10:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year ’s Day).

New exhibition at the West Point Museum highlights recent acquisitions

Opening May 24, the West Point Museum will feature an exhibition of artifacts that have recently entered the museum’s collection.
Highlights from the exhibition include some of the recent and significant acquisitions to the museum’s holdings including Gen. Martin Dempsey’s cadet letter jacket.
The pieces span the timeline of global, national and local military history.
The exhibition is only a small sampling of more than 45,000 individual artifacts within the West Point Museum collection, representing the culmination of more than two centuries of military heritage preservation.
The West Point Museum is the nation’s oldest federal museum.
Its origins can be traced to the American Revolution.
Today, visitors can view the actual weapons, uniforms and memorabilia across American history as well as military artifacts from around the world.
The diverse weapons collection dates to ancient days and includes historic pieces belonging to such figures as George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, John Pershing, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant.
The outstanding art collection includes works by noted artists including James Whistler, Robert Weir, Edouard Detaille and Frederic Remington.
The museum is free to the public and open daily from 10:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year ’s Day).

CADETS SHOW OFF PROJECTS: Projects Day: The pinnacle of the academic year

With the United States fighting multiple wars throughout the world, it is nearly guaranteed that graduates of the U.S. Military Academy will be deployed into combat zones early on in their Army careers.
Prior to graduating from the academy and commissioning, cadets are working to make sure they, and their fellow Soldiers, are safer once they get there.
Cadets presented more than 400 projects May 2 during West Point’s 20th annual Projects Day. The projects came in many shapes and sizes across every academic department at the academy, but the most popular theme throughout was preparing Soldiers for the future.
Multiple teams worked with drones and the different functionalities of them while others worked with power grids and safer systems for carrying rucksacks into the field to name but a few.
“We started out with a pretty vague problem of increasing the squad of the future’s sensory (awareness) while maintaining their safety and keeping them behind cover and concealment,” Class of 2019 Cadet John Kelly, who worked on the project Breach Boys, said. “At first, it was pretty daunting with the huge problem statement. Then, once we narrowed it down it was a lot more feasible.”
The solution to the problem was to design a prototype for a hydraulic ram that will enable Soldiers to breach a five-inch by seven-inch hole in a wall to then deploy a drone through. The kit, which is designed to be carried disassembled by a few Soldiers, includes a deployment and retrieval system that fits through the small breach and then expands to allow the drone to take off or land.
“Currently, Soldiers operating in dense urban environments are exposing themselves to the enemy in order to deploy drones whether it be on rooftops, in windows or on the street,” Kelly said. “What we set out to do is create a mechanical breaching system that would allow the Soldier to breach a wall from the inside of a building to deploy a drone.”
This was the first year the project was undertaken, and Kelly said with one more iteration to make the system lighter and develop stronger anchors to more efficiently breach the wall it should be ready to send to the field to help Soldiers.
“Developing something that could ultimately save lives in the future is pretty exciting and an opportunity that I think is pretty unique to West Point,” Kelly said. “Not only to have the resources and the capability to do that but being in the position where we could use it is pretty special and unique.”
An interdisciplinary team, including cadets from academic departments throughout the academy, worked on the project entitled Raspberry Pi Android Security System, which is designed to create a network of cheap durable cameras that Soldiers can place to create a security perimeter. The project is in the second of at least three years required to get it fully operational, and this year’s team was awarded the 2019 Scott Clark Award as the top cadet project.
“It is really an honor because of the amount of work we put in and how seriously we took it,” Class of 2019 Cadet Cullen Johnson said of winning the award. “Our sponsor really stressed that our work would be affecting the livelihood of Soldiers out in the field and we kept that in mind. We are really happy to accept it on behalf of the people we are going to be able to help and last year’s foundation they set up for us.”
While many of the projects, especially in the STEM departments, focused on Soldier safety, it was far from the only topic being presented during Projects Day. Cadets in the English and Philosophy Department performed a Shakespearean play as their thesis. In the sociology department, projects included cadets looking at policies related to forest fires and marijuana.
In the math department, while some cadets chose to look at data associated with the NHL draft or modeling the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Class of 2019 Cadet Abby Jo Greco took a more conceptual approach by working on a pure math proof. Entitled “Counting Numerical Semigroups” her project was the next step in a proof of a conjecture first introduced in the 19th century.
“It is a good experience to describe to other people what I am doing, people who may not have an idea of what it is. I feel very accomplished to have gone these two semesters,” Greco said of presenting her thesis. “I am in the process of writing an article for publication … I plan on still looking into it to do the next thing that would need to happen for the problem as a whole, and if I don’t someone else can step in and take over where I left off.”
Projects Day was one of multiple events during West Point’s inaugural Inspiration Week, which also included the unveiling of a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, inspiration to serve tours at the West Point Cemetery and the Special Olympics.

GRANT STATUE DEDICATION, Statue Unveiled, New statue offers inspiration to current, future cadets

Eye to eye across The Plain the two members of the Long Gray Line to serve as president of the United States will now stand as permanent inspiration to current and future cadets.
Thirty-six years after a statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower, USMA Class of 1915, was added to the perimeter of The Plain, a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, USMA Class of 1843, was dedicated during a ceremony April 25. Cast in bronze, the statue of Grant stands 7 feet 6 inches tall and stands on a 4 feet 6 inch granite podium. Grant is depicted in his four-star Union Army uniform with riding gauntlets representing his reputation as an expert horseman in one hand and a sword in the other.
The dedication of the statue concludes a nearly three-year process that began in May 2016 at the recommendation of the House of Representatives and marks the 150th anniversary of Grant being inaugurated for his first term as president.
“This is one of two graduates who became president of the United States, served two terms and at the time was one of the most famous Americans,” said Bob McDonald, USMA Class of 1975, who along with his wife Diane and family donated the statue. “I always wondered why Grant wasn’t present (at West Point) and particularly why he wasn’t present on The Plain. When I first heard about the project, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be involved in it and to fund it.”
More than 200 people attended the dedication ceremony, which included a performance by the Cadet Glee Club, a salute by the cadet equestrian team and remarks by McDonald and Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy.
The statue was originally sculpted in clay by artist Paula Slater before being turned into molds and cast in bronze during a nearly yearlong process from start to finish. Each detail of the piece was meticulously planned by a committee including historians and academy representatives. From the type and number of buttons on his coat to the length of the gauntlets and the type of sword he carries, each detail was poured over to ensure it is accurate to the period in which Grant lived.
“There were a lot of discussions about specific details because once it is in statue form you can’t fix it,” Lt. Col. David Siry, West Point Department of History, who served on the committee, said. “We had discussions based on the photos. Then we had discussions based on the clay model. We had discussions based on the little artist print that was sent. Each time, you go back through and say does this look right, does that look right. It is good that you get that much input into it.”
Two of the early decisions included depicting Grant standing and not on horseback, and to not include the cigar that is nearly omnipresent in photos of him. They then had to choose a pose and period to represent before deciding to depict him as a four-star general shortly before his presidency.
Along with the committee’s role in deciding on the details, Slater said she also did extensive research about Grant to make sure the elements were correct and that she was able to truly capture who he was and how he should be conveyed.
“I always say, ‘How would they want to be remembered? What emotions do they want conveyed about them?’’’ Slater said. “With Grant, I wanted him to appear a deeply thoughtful man who had many torturous decisions to make about life and death. I read so much about his heroism, his anguish and his humility and that is what I wanted to portray in his portrait.”
That research came into play in the few extra pounds he carries showing that the war is over, the lines on his forehead gained from years of hard-fought battles and the simplicity of his coat consistent with his character and humility.
“I love to sculpt faces and I love to get that inspiration that you’re going to feel something from it. He comes alive. You are going to be able to look into his eyes and feel his spirit. Feel his character,” Slater said. “You will see in this monument all the detail in the face, the buttons, his eagle belt buckle and his four-star shoulder boards … I don’t want anything in my sculptures to be rigid. They need to look natural, like they could come alive and walk off that pedestal.”
Grant is the seventh statue on The Plain joining Eisenhower, George Patton, George Washington, Douglas MacArthur, Sylvanus Thayer and John Sedgwick.

Statue unveiling for Grant at 1 p.m. today on the Plain

This afternoon, the U.S. Military Academy will have a new permanent resident on The Plain.
In a ceremony starting at 1 p.m., West Point will officially unveil a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, USMA Class of 1843, one of two presidents to graduate from the academy.
The statue will be the first added to The Plain since a statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower was unveiled in 1983.
The area around The Plain also includes statues of George Patton, George Washington, Douglas MacArthur, Sylvanus Thayer and John Sedgwick.
“Ulysses S. Grant embodied the West Point motto of Duty, Honor, Country,” Professor and Head of the Department of History Col. Ty Seidule said.  “As a soldier, he led an army that emancipated four million people, ended slavery and saved the United States of America. The Grant statue will inspire generations of cadets to become leaders of principle and integrity for the nation.”
The statue is being dedicated to mark 150 years since Grant was inaugurated for his first of two terms as president.
It was sculpted by Paula Slater and donated by Bob McDonald, USMA Class of 1975, and his family.
Grant will be featured in his four-star Union Army uniform. The bronze statue stands 7 feet 6 inches tall on a 4 foot 6 inch granite base.
The statue was installed last week and will be officially unveiled around 1:50 p.m. following a ceremony featuring a performance by the West Point Band and a procession by the West Point Cadet Equestrian team honoring Grant’s reputation as an expert horseman.