A-Day is an entirely different experience than R-Day, I highly recommend you attend if you can for two reasons. First, you will see your Cadet officially join the Corp of Cadets. Witnessing the entire Corp on the Plain is amazing; knowing your Cadet is among them is priceless. Secondly, your Cadet really needs you this weekend and I hope you keep this in mind when you attend. During CBT the Pre-Cadets are kept separated from the Corp, what interaction they have is with Cadre and they easily out number them. As they progress through Beast they forge very strong ties, learn they can handle just about anything and then top it off with the March Back. Old Grads march with them, the town of Highland Falls cheers them on, they are on top of the world - for a few brief moments. You will be picking them up after they have had one week with the entire Corp, they will have been re-organized into Academic Year Companies, they have learned they are outnumbered by upper-classman, they will have been smoked, inspected, drilled, smoked, inspected, drilled and smoked. So keep these points in mind as you plan your trip: It is likely your Cadet will wish to leave the Post as soon as possible after the parade. Think, “IMMEDIATELY!” They may very well have a buddy (or two or three) whose family couldn’t make it and they will want to bring them along. Take as many as you can, trust me someone else will be doing the same for your DD/DS in the months to come. Your Cadet will probably fall asleep just a few minutes away from USMA. Once you are at a hotel they will sleep on the first piece of furniture they fall on for several hours. Let’em sleep. When they wake up they will be very hungry but may not be big on the idea of going out to a restaurant, as they may run into an upper-classmen. They will probably need to pick up some school supplies before they return to USMA. Towards Sunday afternoon they will likely get antsy and request to return to USMA before you think they need to. They do not want to be late and they know they have lots to do before their first class. I would suggest you take a couple of good books to read, it’ll keep you busy while they sleep. Map out places to get school supplies and their favorite fast food, and most importantly, let’em know how proud you are of them. They have just gone from being at a high point in their young lives to being torn down again. Plebe year is looking very long to them at this point.