We just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Charleston. Since my son was a cadet I have attended Corps Day Weekend each year. At first it was just fun to get away at the end of winter in Atlanta. Then my son’s junior year he became a member of the 2011 Summerall Guards. Each year since 2010 I’ve attended the ceremony Saturday morning to see the new class take over as the new Summerall Guards. I always get a photo of the person who now holds the same rifle my son once carried.
In addition to the Saturday ceremony I always look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This year was no different. When we arrived on campus the first stop is usually Mark Clark Hall. After a quick visit with our friends in The Citadel Bookstore, we stopped by several battalions to drop off some goodies to a few cadets I keep in touch with each year. Once the cookies were delivered it was off to Capers Hall to meet with Professor Tiffany Silverman. She is doing an outstanding job of heading up Art at The Citadel. The cadets take classes in drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, and woodworking. The program offers opportunities to volunteer and to gain internships. On April 3rd Art at The Citadel will host a lecture by Robert Edsel, author of the book Monuments Men. The event is free and open to the public. VIP tickets for a special reception and book signing are also available. I’ve been serving on the steering committee for the event. Friday was the first time I had the chance to meet Tiffany in person. What a treat!
At the parade Friday afternoon I met up with two alumni friends, Jason Perakis and Paul Tamburrino. Jason was in Bravo Company when he was a cadet. His son is now a sophomore. Paul and Jason were classmates. Together they are quite the comedy team. Paul and I first were introduced when his son was a knob and mine was a sophomore. We were both volunteers with the Citadel Family Association. Once my son graduated I thought my time as a volunteer was over. What I didn’t count on was the number of emails and phones calls I would get after people read my blog. Starting a Facebook group for new parents was the easiest way to post answers to the most commonly asked questions by parents. Paul joined me in the first 2016 parent group and continues to be the alumni voice in the 2017 & 2018 parent groups. After the parade Friday we gathered behind the stands by 2nd Battalion and met quite a few of the 2017 parents that until then we only knew from their Facebook profile pictures.
Friday evening we joined more friends for a fun dinner at Charleston Crab House on James Island. It is a great place to go if you don’t want to fight the in town traffic. The food was good,but the company and conversation was even better.
This year we stayed at the newly renovated Red Roof Inn Plus in Mt. Pleasant. Since I spend very little time in the hotel room during these visits I don’t like to spend a lot of money on a room. I called the hotel directly and they extended the military rate, $80.99, to me as the mom of a Citadel graduate. The rooms are clean and comfortable. It is an outside entrance motel set up. It was just right for our needs this trip.
Saturday morning we were up and on campus by 8:15 am. Several merchants had tables set up in Mark Clark Hall. A new addition this year was Stonewall Designs. Started by the wife and mom of a graduate they offer handmade pillows, winebags and coasters many feature designs inspired by The Citadel. You can visit the shop online at this link. It appears she is still building the web site and Facebook page. A friend asked me to pick up her son’s company composite and class photo for her.
It didn’t take long for the time to head for Summerall Field for the Summerall Guard rifle exchange ceremony to take place. My daughter saved a place for me by the rope and I went to 2nd battalion to snap a few photos of the 2014 Summerall Guards as they lined up. Then it was out to the space between 3rd and 2nd battalion for photos of the 2015 Bond Volunteers who in less than an hour became the 2015 Summerall Guards. When my son was a cadet I would never have gone to take these photos. He would have been too embarrassed. Now that he is a graduate and most of the guys do not know me, I find they are very happy to have their photos taken on this big day. I finished up the photos right as the 2014 Summerall Guards were walking onto the field. It was a good day to take photos. The overcast skies meant the photos turned out well with few shadows. After catching up with several friends and their new Summerall Guards, including the 2014 and 2015 cadets in the same position my son was in, we headed to 1st Battalion for the last few minutes of open barracks. Click here for the link to the Facebook album.
This was the first visit back to campus since 2011 for my daughter. She really wanted to have a photo taken of her next to the Bravo B. Several of the Bravo cadets we had me the day before were there. They told us the upperclassmen still evoke the name of my son to intimidate the knobs. We all had a good laugh. it was back to the parade field for the band concert before the parade. Two years ago at this concert I ended up in tears as cadets dressed in current military attire stepped forward as a patriotic song was played. A few months later my son was off for his first deployment. It was far more fun being there this year when I could just enjoy the music without the worry hanging over my head.
The Regimental Commander, Cadet Collins Hicks, arranged for us to sit with his parents during the awards parade. It was a treat to sit so close to the field for the parade and awards ceremony. Cadet Hicks is from Georgia. I’ve known the Hicks family since his knob year. The time has flown by so quickly. In a few short months the class of 2014 will become part of the long gray line and the Class of 2018 and their parents will begin preparing for Matriculation Day.
After another great lunch at the Marina Variety Store it was off to the Market for a little shopping followed by a fun evening at the Blue and White Bash to benefit the Brigadier Foundation. The dinner and auction were held in McAlister Fieldhouse. We enjoyed seeing a few friends and meeting new ones. After a couple of our bids on silent auction items were out bid far out of our price range we decided to bid on a chance to shoot the cannon during a football game on Parents Weekend. A friend did this last season and it sounded like a lot of fun. We placed our bid then hovered around the table until the bidding was closed. I know what I will be doing Parents Weekend, 2014!
We packed so much into a 48 hour period. I find myself looking through the photos I took to remember everything we did! I’m including a few of my favorites here. You can see the rest through the links below.