Every Friday afternoon at 3:45, The Citadel cadets gather in formation for a dress parade on the Quad. I looked forward to seeing this. Why should this interest me? I was recruited by The Citadel while a senior in high school, Conroy’s Lords of Disciplinewas made into a great movie, and it’s just damn impressive. The cadets march out from the barracks in their finery, rolling across the great green lawn of the parade deck in steady, even rows to the sounds of bagpipes with a backing of brass and drums. This trip was more effort than expected as the temps today didn’t reach 50 so breaking out the leathers was a must. But I wanted to get some shots prior to the cadets leaving for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Rolling through the gates, one can’t help but be taken in with the Romanesque, grey architecture of the buildings. Doric columns bordering Roman arches are the norm. I was a bit befuddled at seeing so many young men in fatigues with duffel bags at their side. Why weren’t they preparing for the parade as it begin in less than an hour. I parked, removed the leather and entered the plaza through the iron gates. A group of officers were chatting and one came over, seeing my camera and asked if I were an alumni. I told him I was there to photograph the parade. Much to my dismay, there would be no parade. The cadets were leaving today to start the holiday season early. And no parades would be held the remainder of the winter. A bit of a disappointment, yes, but the empty plaza brought back good memories.