Sunday, February 1, 2009

Theme Day Feb 2009: Paths and Passages

Jackson Arch, entrance to the Barracks, Virginia Military Institute, taken from beside the pedestal of Moses Ezekiel's Stonewall Jackson.

Today is the first of the month, the day that city daily photo bloggers from around the world post on a single theme. February's theme is "paths and passages."

One of the most significant passages we have in Lexington is Jackson Arch, through which pass, each fall, new VMI cadets to begin their four years of rigorous physical and mental training. First year cadets, nicknamed "rats" since the 1850's, will endure for the entire year a demanding system of initiation known as the "ratline." The VMI website states: "The system is designed to remove wealth and former station in life as factors in one's standing as a cadet, ensuring equal opportunity for all to advance by personal effort, and to enjoy those rewards that are earned."

Upon entering the first day through Jackson Arch, each cadet will see the words of Stonewall Jackson inscribed within: "You may be whatever you resolve to be."

To see the paths and passages of other bloggers, click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

7 comments:

Tanya said...

What meaningful words inscribed. Beautiful entry, happy theme day!

Babooshka said...

A very historical Passageway.

Jilly said...

What a fabulous piece of history here. Great contribution to today's Theme Day.

gogouci said...

Just a great historic location.

Hilda said...

Lovely but imposing structure, especially after reading about that ratline! I like the quote though. Happy Theme Day!

Peter said...

I understand that you never personally passed the gate?

Interesting story!

Ken said...

Amazing, by passing through the gates the cadets leave life as they know it. Good post.