There is so much to see and do in Colorado Springs. If it is not on your vacation to-do list, go ahead and add it now! While you’re there, be sure to visit the United States Air Force Academy.
The first stop (after passing through security) should be the The Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center. Of course, there is a gift shop where you can buy anything Air Force. You can also get a map and orient yourself for your visit.
For me, there were two highlights in the Visitor Center: the movie and the mock dorm room. For some reason, I found the mock dorm room quite interesting. When I went to college, my car was packed full of all of the necessities for dorm life… not so much for these entering freshman. To say the Academy has a minimalist approach to dorm room decor is an understatement. There is certainly no picking out matching shower curtains and towels for these students. By the time a Cadet is a senior, he or she might get to have such luxuries as a fan or a radio.
The 14 minute movie gives visitors a glimpse into the life of Cadets from arrival to graduation. Of course, their training is both academically and physically rigorous. The level of commitment to excellence that these Cadets exhibit is amazing, and I certainly felt a sense of respect for these men and women who serve our great nation with so much dedication. Be prepared, you might have the urge to hum America the Beautiful as you exit.
As you leave the visitor center, take the 1/3 mile paved nature trail to the Cadet Chapel. The Cadet Chapel is open to the public as long as there are no services or events. The chapel is certainly the crown jewel of the facilities at the Academy. It is simply breathtaking inside and out.
After enjoying the Chapel, take a stroll through the Honor Court and gaze at various bronze statues. During our visit, we had the opportunity to observe several groups of Cadets marching in formation. We speculated that were marching to dinner because it was 5pm. We just stood there and watched. Wow!
I’m certainly grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such a iconic American institution. One can’t help but feel a sense of awe as one considers the number of the brave men and women who have studied and trained here over the years.