Colleen Slattery, Contributing Writer
Three of University of Dallas’s most dazzling junior women recently attended the invite-only West Point Military Ball held at West Point Academy in New York.
The girls, Judy Gallagher, Kelsey Clary and Mary Jones, were invited by a former University of Dallas student and were treated to a weekend of uniforms, history, dancing and gallant behavior.
Leaving behind the 70-degree Dallas winter, the girls stepped off the plane into the blustery cold of a late New York winter.
“The West Point campus is as captivating as you could expect an old fortress to be. It really seems to exude a sense of old tradition and valor that lends it an awe-inspiring air,” said Gallagher. “It is castle-like, but steeped in patriotism. References to the founding fathers as well as to generals are frequently spaced throughout the campus.”
The event was not just about dresses and dances, though. Before the festivities began, the main speaker, Chief Justice Scalia, made a speech to the cadets. Clary’s impression of the speech was typical of a UD student: “Scalia’s speech was absolutely appropriate for the situation. We were all tickled when he quoted both C.S. Lewis and Flannery O’Connor!”
“You shall know the truth and the truth will make you odd,” said Scalia, quoting O’Connor.
Both Gallagher and Jones were impressed by the speech as well.
“What most struck me about Justice Scalia’s speech was his humility and authenticity,” Gallagher said. “He seemed to speak from the heart and to express a deep concern for this country as well as an appreciation to what these military men stand to fight for. He began his speech by talking about the Constitution and how the Constitution separates us from any other country.”
“I was very impressed by how the cadets treated us and integrated us into the West Point community. And I was also impressed with how they handled all the questions I threw at them because, as a history major, I had a lot!” Jones laughed.
The weekend was a heartening one for the girls from the University of Dallas. They were pleased to see that traditional values are still being lived out in the secular environment of West Point.
The weekend concluded with a beautiful Catholic Mass at the Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity, overlooking the Hudson River and rimmed in by the surrounding Catskill Mountains.