Wednesday, August 24, 2011

West Point Ring Weekend 2011

The United States Military Academy at West Point is a bastion of many traditions. It has been an incredible learning experience for this West Point mom to learn traditions as I have progressed (and matured!) through this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The traditions begin early with figuring out how to divide a pie equally into an "odd" number of slices, how to chew food efficiently, and learning a new vocabulary filled with words like: Plebe, Yuk, Cow, Firstie, SAMI, boodle, smoke, hours, the Gray Period, poop deck, and SOSH run. West Point (and the Army) is its own universe with so many unusual terms ... many to which I am not even privy.

HOWEVER... of all this big, gray, stone institution's traditions, my absolute favorite has to be Ring Weekend. Such a happy milestone!

Interesting Facts about West Point Class Rings:
  • West Point was the first learning institution to have a class ring (1835).
  • Old Grads and their families donate rings back to West Point to be melded into the new metal used for the new class rings. An awesome symbol of the Long Gray Line's continuity.
  • Today's cadets design their own rings, but all rings include each year's class crest.
  • The cadets save money every month for their rings. It is quite an investment!

A beloved tradition of Ring Weekend is the "Ring Poop". After the ceremony's completion, Firsties (First Class Cadets or seniors) wearing their new, shiny rings are attacked by swarms of Plebes (Lowly Fourth Class Cadets who, under normal circumstances, would not be allowed to approach a Firstie in such an aggressive way). Plebes surrounding the Firsties chant in unison a very obnoxious poem regarding the new rings. Firsties try to run as fast as they are able to avoid all Plebes performing this embarrassing ritual.

I'm sad to have missed Ring Weekend, but, knowing how delighted my cadet was to have his fiance celebrate with him, made me smile

I cheered as my FDIL's (future daughter-in-law) plane landed 3:00 Friday afternoon at LGA. Every one said it would not be possible for her to make the Ring Ceremony by 5:00. Every one except another WP cadet mom who gave me the hottest NYC travel tip... ever. It took a lot of mom- prompting and assurance to my cadet that some things are well-worth the money spent, getting FDIL to the ceremony being one of them.

"Mom, we will just be standing around a lot."

When you are living West Point it is easy to lose perspective.

At last my cadet agreed to arrange for a limo to meet his fiance. She was on the airport curb by 3:20 (Only one hour and forty minutes until the Ring Ceremony!)

"My driver's name is 'Lucky'... that can't hurt my chances." was text received from FDIL (Aren't I all military-like using this new acronym?)

Imagine my delight when I received a very blurry i-Phone pic of cadets crossing the road at Trophy Point on their way to the ceremony. Whew... another Mission Accomplished! Here's to persistence, answered prayer, and a lot of Lucky!

Blurry 'cause she is running to make it!

Class of 2012 Ring Ceremony

My Cadet Fourth From the End (Photo Courtesy of West Point)
Special thanks to husband for his awesome ability to find our son in any photo.

THE Ring!

Beautiful Couple!

Meeting FDIL at the airport, I was delighted that she was delivering a special gift. To me, from my cadet.

Love it... and love the sweet note which accompanied the gift ... a note which made the present all the more special... my own little private Ring Ceremony. Wow.

Added in my note was: P.S. Don't lose this, it was very expensive!

Oh, how the roles begin to reverse... don't worry... it is now one of my most prized possessions.


  1. Congratulations all the way around. You must be a very, very proud mom. :)

  2. Bev, what a handsome, gracious son you have! I think you and I were the only WP moms who were absent. :'(

    Your pendant is beautiful. It reminds me very much of Micahdet's ring. Impeccable taste! ;-)

  3. What a beautiful story ... and an amazing memory ...


  4. What a beautiful account of an amazing day in the life of a military mom. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for your sacrifice for our country.

    Loved, loved the note. Just what you used to say to him, I am sure.


  5. I have 1 tear running down each cheek as I type this. Thank you for sharing this with us Bev. Congratulations to you and your wonderful son (I love your pendant) - and your FDIL too :) So happy for you all! xo

  6. oh my gosh – I've never met you in person – and so of course I've never met your son – nor have I met your future daughter-in-law – but I read this and guess what? I'm kind of proud of your son – and happy that he has such a lovely FB (future bride) - and I'm happy for you to have such a son to be proud of – and an FDIL such as that – they are a beautiful couple – you are such a good mama. God bless and keep you!