100th Night celebrates countdown for Class of 2013
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 28, 2013) — It was a celebration and a countdown for the Class of 2013 as cadets and guests gathered Feb. 23 at Washington Hall for the 100th Night banquet.
Class of 2013 Cadet Timothy Berry, the class committee president, called it a memorable occasion and congratulated his classmates on this well-deserved achievement.
“Let these last 90 days remind us all of the call to service that will unite us as a class forever,” he said.
Class of 2013 Cadet Edward McBride described it as seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“For the firsties, 100th Night is a milestone because you leave behind the triple digits and enter into double digits,” McBride said. “It’s also bittersweet because this is our last class weekend.”
Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, expressed gratitude for the invitation to speak to the Class of 2013. He said it was appropriate to reflect not only on where the class is headed after graduation, but to also remember how they got there and the people who shared that journey.
After proving they were worthy of being West Point cadets, the journey will soon begin anew, Ham said, and they must prove themselves worthy of leading Soldiers as Army officers. He noted how this class has distinguished itself with academic All-Americans, national championship athletes, scholars and linguists.
“Don’t worry. You’re ready,” Ham said. “You will do yourselves, your class, West Point, your families, our Army and nation very proud.”
Ham said good officers must be masters of their craft who take the pledge to become lifelong learners. He advised the Class of 2013 to steel themselves for the challenges and tests that await them.
“As officers you will be entrusted with our sons and daughters—our most valuable resource,” Ham said. “Be the type of leader you would like your children to have. Remember that officers are always leaders. There is not an on-duty and off-duty. You are always on duty.”
The 100th Night Show
The evening’s entertainment at Eisenhower Hall Theatre was the traditional 100th Night Show. A talented cast and crew presented the Class of 2013 and its guests with a satirical retrospective of the 47-month experience at the U.S. Military Academy. The full-length musical comedy titled “Ted” centered on the commandant of cadets and his quest to fix the Class of 2013 of all its deficiencies.
“The show is all about summing up the four years of our West Point experience into a comical production,” McBride, one of the soundboard operators at the performance, said.
The academy provided a target-rich environment for parody and practically no one or nothing went unscathed. Among those lampooned were the commandant, the brigade tactical officer, the Department of Physical Education, the entire plebe class and even the Long Gray Line.
“They always agree, after some script reading, to being poked fun at,” McBride said of the senior leaders. “It’s kind of a chance for the class to reminisce in the most comical way.”
The 100th Night Show dates back as early as 1871 when skits were presented by the graduating class.
It evolved into musical comedies a few decades later, written, directed and performed by senior cadets.
A cadet cannot endure the rigors of West Point without a sense of humor, McBride said.
“A sense of humor is paramount to surviving here,” McBride said. “The institution intentionally puts so much stress on you that you need to find time to laugh. This show looks back at some of the hard times and allows everyone to sit back and get a laugh out of it.”