Letter from a 1980 West Point Graduate...
I'm a West Point Classmate of COL Tom, joining him and almost 1500 other new cadets in the summer of '76 at West Point. I've known of Tom's trip across the river for years, it was, and is, one of the enduring legends of our Class lore. I haven't spoken to Tom in years but reading of him, and the special bond that existed between him and Jim, and with the Chapel moved me, and reminded me of similar ties we all formed during those intense, packed years as cadets.
Like I said, I never made the short trip to Garrison. I was part of the"Head to Newburgh" crowd to escape the 20 kilometer no drinking rule as a cadet. On my second trip there I would up at a party in a dorm at Mt. St. Mary College and met the young woman who I married almost 28 yearsago and whom I still dearly love. Our watering hole was a small bar in Newburgh called the Golden Rail and our community of friends included several of my classmates and Carol's friends from the Mount, many who remain steadfast friends that we stay in frequent contact with to this day.
I try and return to West Point each Aug to take part in the March backwith the new cadets as they complete Beast Barracks. Even though the chapel has shut it's doors, I look forward to driving over and seeing for myself, the wonderful community you have the good fortune to share. I'll also fit in a return to our own "chapel", the Golden Rail, but truth be told, it never held the magic you sense from Guinan's. Enjoy what is still there, as such places are increasingly rare, and thank you so much for sharing it with us."
Marty J. Eaton
MAJ, INFAMCOM Operations Center
USMA Class of 1980
(Photo of Tom Endres and Jim Guinan by Gwendolyn Bounds)