Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Produced on the occasion of the United States Marine Corps' bicentennial, the two-hour documentary West Point was a collaborative effort by PBS, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Driftwood Productions, and the USAA Foundation. Narrated by Andre Braugher, the film endeavored to place the history of the fabled U.S. military academy in the context of the overall saga of the United States. While much of the film was laudatory, demonstrating that, in the words of graduate Norman H. Schwarzkopf, West Point has remained "the keeper of the holy flame" in military matters, the occasional low points of the academy were carefully scrutinized, including the torn loyalties during the Civil War, the initial resistance to admitting black and female cadets, the oft-violent "hazing" policies, periodic cheating scandals, and the residual damage of the Vietnam era. In its own way, the documentary celebrated a paradox: West Point's rigid adherence to tradition and its ability to adapt and grow with changing times. West Point first aired over PBS on January 30, 2002.
military-academy, cadet, Civil-War [US], hazing, Vietnam