This weekend I was in Colorado Springs on a business trip. We had some free time on Sunday and decided to go up to the Air Force Academy (about 5 minutes away from the hotel). I was worried that they might not let us in but there was a big sign on the freeway that said “Air Force Academy Visitor’s Center” and that it was open. When we drove up to the gates the sign said it was FPCON Alpha (Force Protection Condition Alpha). I’m not sure what FPCON Alpha meant but I guess it meant they were supposed to check my driver’s license and look in the trunk of the car because that is what they did. After a brief moment of me figuring out how to open the trunk on the rental car we were on our way to the Academy. We passed a big B-52 bomber and saw several other planes displayed on the campus. I thought they were pretty cool but the guy I was with informed me that the Hill Air Force Base Museum had cooler planes.
The Air Force Academy has a visitors center where you watch a 10 minute movie on what it’s like to be a cadet (too tough for me) and then you can check out the cockpit of a jet, buy Air Force Falcon’s gear, check out the various kinds of uniforms, and read all about the founding of the Academy and its glorious history. You can then take a little walk through the woods to the Cadet Chapel.
Protestant Chapel Organ
The Cadet Chapel is a very impressive building and probably the signature building of the Academy (every other building looks like a 1970s college dorm). The chapel has two main chapels – one upstairs for the Protestants (the biggest one) and one downstairs for the Catholics. There is also a Jewish room and several rooms for those that fall in the “other” category.
Front of the Protestant Chapel
I thought the coolest thing about the Protestant chapel was the organ at the back. Supposedly they can hold services in both the Catholic and Protestant chapels simultaneously without disturbing each other but I wondered if they Catholics could hear the Protestants organ coming from upstairs. The second coolest thing was the height of the chapel and the stained glass and lights. We tried to go into the Jewish section but it was locked.
The Air Force Academy is a beautiful place. I’m not sure I would want my kids to go there but I have only respect for the cadets do go and eventually become officers. When I called Nancy that evening she mentioned that the kids were worried about the fact that I didn’t go to church that day. I was pleased to inform her that I did indeed go to church – it just wasn’t an LDS church.