For the past three years I served as the chair of the Georgia Citadel Parents Group. As the chair, I was the liaison with the local alumni club and attended several of their gatherings. The Atlanta Citadel Club is a great group of alumni who are very dedicated to the school and interested in nurturing current cadets as they progress through the school. The alumni members always make me feel welcome to the gatherings.
This past week’s annual Muster was no different. The event was held at a local restaurant. According to the alumni association website, “The first annual Citadel Alumni Muster was held in 1998. It was an Alumni Association initiative designed to facilitate an annual coming together of all alumni of the institution, with the purpose of recognizing those in the long gray line of the South Carolina Corps of Cadetswho have passed away during the preceding year.”
I arrived on the early side to register and say hello before the formal program began. At the designated time the club president, Andy Frey, announced it was time to go outside for the Muster, led by David Robertson, ’90 playing the bagpipes. The gathering was held on a green in the center of a restaurant complex where they had a nice gazebo surrounded by a grassy area. Restaurants with outdoor seating surrounds the gazebo area. I can only guess that their patrons wondered what was going on as 30+ alumni and guests gathered in the space.
Michael Escoe, ’73, club Vice President, led the program. After he read the names of Deceased Alumni from Georgia from the past year, David Robertson played Amazing Grace on his bagpipes as the attendees observed a time of silent remembrance. I was struck by the contrast of the restaurant and traffic noises in the background and the beautiful sound of the bagpipes. The list of 15 names included graduates from the Class of 1941 to the Class of 2007. I read over their names again praying for their families and friends. Once the song was finished we recited the Cadet Prayer followed by The Alma Mater.
The rest of the evening was a good-natured gathering of friends new and old. I ran into some recent graduates who know my son, and met many new friends. I am grateful for this group of graduates who helped me greatly the past several years in my quest to understand cadets who take “the road less traveled.” It is not the choice I made for my college experience, but I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the students who take on the challenge.