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R-Day/Parade Day

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by bsummerwood, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. bsummerwood

    bsummerwood 5-Year Member

    Jun 19, 2010
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    My DS has received and accepted his appointment to WP. Unfortunately, we may not be traveling with him when he reports on R-day, we were thinking about making the trip for Parade Day. Can anyone give me an opinion on this? Thank you.
  2. Dixieland

    Dixieland 5-Year Member

    Mar 10, 2010
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    DH and I went to R-Day and A-Day and are very glad we did. I realize it's not logistically or financially possible for everyone but we wanted to be there to see DS begin his life at West Point. There is plenty to do after the 90-second good-bye such as tours, the Comm's briefing (or was it the Supe?), and the Oath Ceremony. There are really no activities planned for A-Day. The A-Day parade was wonderful and DS finally appeared in the early afternoon ready to visit with us at our hotel. There are restrictions as to where the new cadets can travel over A-Day weekend and what they are allowed to do (no shopping, movies, etc.) so he pretty much just hung out in the hotel and relaxed. They are not allowed to spend the night in the hotel and by Sunday evening, DH was getting antsy because the next day was the first day of classes and he needed to get back and get ready.
  3. CPT_Claw

    CPT_Claw 5-Year Member

    Mar 5, 2010
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    R-Day is an emotionally charged day during which you will experience the fulll gamut of emotions. From Pride, to Sorrow, to Elation, to Worry, to Exhaustion, and to Pride again. But few, if any, of those will you actually get to share with your New Cadet. You will be with him or her at the beginning, and then they are rather abruptly separated from you. The Academy has some outstanding activities and briefings, etc in which you can engage during the day, but you will probably not see your New Cadet as they shuffled through the stations and their lives irrevocably change. Some parents will mull about trying to get a glimpse of their newly shorn and uniformed child, but we were under strict orders from our son to 'stay away from the Sally Ports' and not try to see him.

    You will beam with pride as the New Cadets and their Cadre march across the Plain for the Oath Ceremony, but again, you will only catch a glimpse ... and the glimpse can be unsettling and heartbreaking. Our New Cadet (NC) looked exhausted, pained, shell-shocked, and a bit PO'd (all of which were accurate according to subsequent communications with him). Still, I am very glad we went. It was helpful in helping us cut the cord of our oldest child. For him, I'm not sure it mattered one way or the other.

    We also went back for March Back and A-Day (both of which can be called Parade Day, I guess ... though I assume you are talking about A Day). These were much more exciting and 'happy' times for our NC. Though again, we could not speak with him during March Back day, he did see us and the smile on his face was worth every mile we drove several times over.

    A-Day is a MUST attend if there is anyway possible for you to be there. The ceremony and Corps of Cadets on parade is awe-inspiring, and the hug you will receive from your (no longer New) Cadet will take your breath away. You will have the opportunity to take him off post and let him relax, hear the stories from Beast, watch him or her eat and sleep (that's all they will initially want to do), and see glimmers of the little son or daughter you bid farewell too a month and a half before shining through the young man or woman sitting before you.

    Rather long winded, I know and I am sorry for the rambling. In short: go to both if you can; but if you must choose between the two, say your farewells at the airport before Beast and try your darndest to be there for A Day.

    Congrats to you and your child.
  4. buff81

    buff81 Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 31, 2008
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    Congratulations to your son!!! :yay:

    If possible, do both.

    But - if you have to choose one, go to A-day. You will want to see him after not seeing him for 5 weeks. And he will want to see you.
    Take him out to eat. Go to your hotel and let him chill, sleep, eat, sleep, visit, sleep, watch TV, sleep - you get the picture.

    If your cadet goes to R-Day alone, he won't be the only one. There are many whose parents are not able to do both and some cadet candidates don't want their parents to come. Some find it easier to say goodbye at the airport than during the '90 second goodbye'.

    Both days are memorable but if you have to choose - A-Day would be the one to go to.
  5. luv2swim

    luv2swim 5-Year Member

    Jul 30, 2008
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    We went to R-Day, A-Day and PPW (Plebe Parent Weekend in March). We knew this was a lot of trips to NY in one year and it felt like we spent a lot of money, but there really are not any formal parent things again until senior year, and we did not want to miss the experiences. I am so glad we went to all three.

    I would agree with the concensus here that if you have to choose between R-day and A-day, then go for A-day! You will have been apart from your New Cadet during a formative time and he/she will be soooo glad to see you. If you are there with a hotel room nearby, he/she will get to LEAVE WP during the day on Saturday and Sunday, chill with you, etc. - a great relief after enduring Beast and Reorgy Week!

    I would also recommend PPW. This is a rare opportunity to "meet the teachers" and visit barracks, eat at the mess hall. We were delighted to talk to teachers who knew our cadet (a benefit of small classes) and to see/hear what life is like for our cadet.

    Good luck and congratulations!
  6. mmb5

    mmb5 5-Year Member

    Sep 1, 2009
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    I follow the recommendations, definitely of A-Day over R-Day - both if cost is not an issue - but if it is, skip R-Day with no guilt. USMA will match cadets flying in with roommates at an airport hotel the night before, and bus them up together - a bonding experience for them before to meet and talk freely before they have to face the induction process.
    We went to R-Day. enjoyed seeing the post again after son's overnight visit, but most of the day (extremely hot) was parent-only experiences - retail therapy, food, meeting the chaplains, Mass. Supe's briefing was available later online, and was interesting, but contained little information that wasn't available elsewhere - rightly so, since so many parents don't come.
    Lots of tears from parents at the oath ceremony at 6pm or 6:30pm. A long wait in the stands to see it and no contact with your cadet. Definitely moving to see the transformation over the day from the kid in shorts to the nearly-unrecognizable marching would-be soldier. But the real goodbyes were said at home, not in the 90 seconds at 6:30 that morning.
    My son said afterward that he would have been really disappointed not to have us there for A-Day, but would have actually preferred flying in alone and getting to know fellow candidates/new cadets better the night before R-Day. My suggestion: ask your son or daughter.

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