The West Point Association of Graduates Must Condemn the Insurrection of January 6, 2021 and Denounce Any Graduate Who Supported It

A letter to the West Point Association of Graduates Board of Directors and CEO, sent February 1, 2021:

One-hundred and sixty years ago this month, the fabric of our national polity was torn. West Point graduates and alumni were divided. A fledgling insurrection formed into a treasonous confederate government that seceded from the United States in February 1861. Each graduate’s fidelity to the oath sworn upon commissioning was challenged. Tragically, many chose to forsake their oath and became traitors to the Constitution and country they swore to defend. Never again can such a divide fester.

Today, we find our nation divided along partisan political lines. Cadets, officers, and alumni are challenged on their fidelity to their oaths. While thankfully not yet equivalent to 1861, the division and threat to democracy is no less real. During these difficult and dangerous times, West Point, the Association of Graduates (AOG), and all alumni must make a clear, united commitment to our bedrock values of duty, honor, country, and reaffirm our sacred oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Sadly, some alumni, including elected officials, fanned the flames of the January 6th insurrection by supporting proven lies, hiding behind dubious procedural quibbles, or physically participating in the attack on our Capitol. These actions were a clear betrayal to their oath.

When asked to take a stand by alumni, the U.S Air Force Academy (USAFA) AOG chose to equivocate:

General Gould (USAFA AOG president and former Superintendent) indicated that board members had “emotions that went across the spectrum, and opinions and ideas…We made it a point that we would stay totally apolitical, which is very important in what we do,” the general said. “And that we weren’t going to pick sides in any of this.” (“The Retired General in Charge of the Air Force Academy Alumni Association Refuses to Condemn Jan. 6 Riot, Angering its Members,” New York Times, January 29, 2021)*

We, the undersigned graduates, want to make it clear that our West Point AOG cannot quibble or lack moral courage. We must publicly condemn the insurrection and denounce any alumni who supported it. West Point is one of the country’s most sacred institutions and cannot betray the moral authority rightly given by a respecting public. We must rise above the fray and make a principled stand on the incontrovertible correct side in support of the Constitution and our democracy. West Point proudly promotes, “The history we teach was often made by those we taught.” Tragically, West Point taught both Grant and Lee; one a hero, the other a traitor. It is in that vein that the failures of 1861 must not be repeated. The words spoken by Edmund Burke in 1770 ring true always, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men {and women} to do nothing.” The comfort of neutrality during sedition is an unacceptable option. The ideals of West Point — Duty, Honor, Country — only endure if its graduates — who are publicly represented by the West Point AOG — embody, live, and exemplify them.

Grip Hands,

Concerned Members of the Long Gray Line

Here is a link of those who have signed the letter. This link will be updated periodically as new names are added.

*Since writing and sharing this letter for signature, the Air Force Academy Board of Directors has corrected the USAFA AOG CEO and made a strong statement against the insurrection and those involved. We applaud them for making this correction and taking this important stand.

THIS LETTER DOES NOT REPRESENT the opinion or policies of the Department of Defense, the US Army or US Military Academy

Any West Point alumni interested in adding their name to this letter is encouraged to contact any of the current signers for further instructions.

If you would like to add additional thoughts, you are encouraged to contact the West Point Association of Graduates directly.

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United Members of the Long Gray Line

United Members of the Long Gray Line

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A coalition of several hundred West Point alumni from six decades of classes, who collectively served across ten presidential administrations.