West Point Class of ’01 Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Custom Henry
143 Rifles for the West Point Class of 2001 Reunion
Upon graduating from the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point, you are commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army and will serve for at least the next 8 years in some capacity, be it Active Duty or Reserve. The academy has produced some of the finest military and business leaders in the country including Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and Henry A. du Pont, to name just a few. Strategically located along the Hudson River in New York’s Hudson Valley, the school and its cadets play just as vital a role to our nation’s security and prosperity as it did when it was established in 1802.
The Class of 2001 graduated in a time of peace, but that changed just a few months later with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They witnessed one of the most significant events in our country’s history from their Basic Officer Leader Course while preparing to take leadership roles in a branch of the Army. The creed adopted by this class, “Til Duty is Done,” suddenly took on a very real purpose.
It is a distinct honor and privilege for Henry Repeating Arms to have been chosen by the Class of ’01 to commemorate their 20th reunion and pay tribute to their fallen classmates with 143 custom rifles.
Built on the Side Gate Lever Action .45-70 rifle platform, the Class of 2001 rifle is filled with hand-selected imagery specific to their journey.
On the right side of the hardened brass receiver is a detailed rendering of the US flag representing the country that the Class of 2001 swore an oath to support and defend. Just behind the loading gate is the iconic crest of the USMA. The crest consists of a sword, a universal symbol of war, and the helmet of Pallas Athena, to symbolize education, growth, and wisdom.
On the opposite side, a headline reading “United States Military Academy” is displayed above 3 words delivered to USMA cadets in 1962 by General Douglas MacArthur.
Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
The right side of the genuine American walnut buttstock features a detailed portrayal of marching cadets during a parade with Washington Hall in the background. The building is the mess hall, among other things, and sits as the focal point on the parade grounds, also known as “The Plain.”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is a tribute to the fallen classmates that were considered KIA in theater. All of the names listed next to the Battlefield Cross are officially a part of the Class of 2001 with the exception of Kevin “KJ” Smith. He was a part of their class until Firstie (senior year) and was held back a year, officially graduating in 2002. However, the Class of 2001 felt strongly that he was one of them and wanted to make sure that he was included in the memorial. These are the names of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country:
John Hallett III
Kevin “KJ” Smith
May they rest in peace.
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