Lt. Gen. Wants Academy's Anthem to Reflect Times

Tradition runs deep at West Point Academy, but one may soon be abandoned.

West Point's Commandant Lt. Gen. James Hagenbeck was at a funeral for a female cadet killed in Iraq. As the choir came to the line, "Guide us, thy sons, aright," while singing the anthem, Hagenbeck decided the language had to change.

The anthem was written by Paul Reineke in 1911. It's been 30 years since women were first admitted to the academy, and thousands of female cadets have gone on to serve — and sometimes die — for their country.

Some alumni are angry about his proposal to change a song a century old, but to Gen. Hagenbeck, it's not about political correctness, it's about principle.

He has asked West Point's board to consider changing the word "sons" to 'the corps." The board says it will make a decision by the end of summer.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.