Looking Forward for Citadel Parents of the Class of 2018

bravowearsthering

Bravo Company 2011 wear the Ring photo by Stanley Leary

Parents of the Class of 2018: Your cadets have ordered their rings and gotten their blazers. It won’t be long until the BVA’s find out if they are Summerall Guards. In less than ten months from now you’ll be attending Parents/Ring Weekend!

A few notes:

  • If your cadet is a Summerall Guard, do attend Corps Day Weekend. That is when they will transition from Bond Volunteers to Summerall Guards.
  • Find out where your cadet will be as they march onto the field Saturday morning and find your place along the roped off area early to get good photos. My son was on the side closest to the stands (versus on the chapel side of the field) we stood along the rope in front of the stands closest to the walkway from 2nd battalion.
  • Looking ahead to ring weekend, make your hotel or house reservation early. Get cancellation insurance if you rent a house as we learned this past fall with hurricane season anything can happen.
  • I’ve written quite a lot about Ring Weekend and posted plenty of photos to show moms in particular what to wear Friday evening. In short, the ring presentation in the afternoon business dress is appropriate (you’ll see more casual attire too) the evening ring ceremony traditionally moms wear a formal gown since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. Moms, wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be standing in a line for your turn through the ring.
  • You do not need tickets for the afternoon ring presentation or the evening ring ceremony.
  • The field house fills up quickly for the presentation so get to your seats early. As your friends with sophomore or junior cadets to take photos/video of the march into the field house and have them stationed at the chapel where the cadets knock on the chapel door with their rings.
  • After they receive their rings families should go to the barracks. The seniors run into the battalion have a sparking cider toast and throw the glasses at the company letter. If you are stationed at a sallyport with a view of the letter and a zoom lens you can get some photos. In 2010 my husband got permission ahead of time from the TAC officer to be in the battalion to take photos which we shared with everyone in the company afterward.
  • After the toast the seniors will come out of the barracks for congratulations and photos. The Summerall Guards have to practice. Most others have the afternoon off.
  • The school will post the schedule of when each company goes through the ring Friday night. If your cadet’s company has a time from 6 – 8 you can have dinner after you go through the ring. Bravo went through at 8:30 so our group of 30+ had dinner at 5:30.
  • Family and friends who are with you Friday night will go sit in the stands and wait for the cadet and mom/date/other guest to go through the ring. Once you walk through the ring your party will leave the field house.
  • Saturday of Ring Weekend is a regular football day, but with open barracks Saturday morning. Most cadets appreciate families bringing breakfast to them in the barracks that morning.
  • Keep a camera handy. Senior cadets smile more on Ring Weekend than any other time. It all goes by so quickly. If you have family or friends with you consider asking them to be the designated photographer for the family.

See the links at the end of this post for more photos:

The Citadel: Parent’s Weekend and Ring Weekend 2013

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Parents’ Weekend at The Citadel, 2015

The Class of 2018 lines the street to cheer on the Class of 2015 as they march to the field house to receive their rings. Oct. 2014

The Class of 2018 lines the street to cheer on the Class of 2015 as they march to the field house to receive their rings. Oct. 2014

In just a few short weeks scores of families will head to Charleston and the campus of The Citadel for Parents’ Weekend. The class of 2016 will receive their rings (THE Ring) Friday afternoon and the Class of 2019 will go through a promotion ceremony Saturday morning. They will move from being cadet recruits to cadet privates. While it is a fun weekend for all classes the focus is really on the seniors and freshman, or knobs as they are called. I am very excited to attend the events this year at the invitation of a few friends.

The school has posted the schedule for the weekend. I’ve copied the times down and made some notes on each event.

Friday, October 9: (Note: Parking begins to fill up before noon on Friday. Allow extra time to walk to your destination on campus if you arrive closer or after noon.)

10:30 amReport to Parents by the President and Senior Staff:  If you are in town early and can attend, these talks are always informative.

The Class of 2015 ready to receive their rings.

The Class of 2015 ready to receive their rings.

12:55 pm – The seniors process from 2nd battalion to McAlister Field house as the knobs cheer them on. If you are on campus, this is a fun tradition to watch. The knobs in the class of 2019 line both sides of the street and cheer on the seniors as they process by. It is a great time to take photos and video.

For families of seniors: Families of the seniors really should be seated inside before the processional. If you really want to see them march in and you have a large party have someone save your seat, or designate one person to take photos. We had our seats staked out on the middle aisle part way up the stands my son’s senior year. My husband is a photographer and found this was the best place to get photos of the ring being presented. The seniors are divided in two groups by company then in alpha order. Be sure to ask your cadet which side their company will be on to make it easier for you to spot them when they are seated. Each company invites a special person to their class to give them their rings. It can be a former cadet officer TAC officer, alumnus or other person special to the class. Ask  your cadet who they selected. The school will have a video of the presentation after the ceremony. See this link for a video from a previous year.

Our extended family: Dorie Cadet Lucas, Dorothy Lucas, Chelle Leary. Oct. 2014 photo by Stanley Leary

Our extended family: Dorie Cadet Lucas, Dorothy Lucas, Chelle Leary
photo by Stanley Leary

After the presentation ceremony is over the seniors run out of the field house, across the parade field to the chapel. This began after the presentation was moved to the field house. cadets used to receive their rings in the chapel years ago. The past several years the seniors began to run to the chapel and knock on the memorial plaques and chapel door with their ring. They then run to their company letter. Junior cadets form an arch that the senior run through, grab a glass of sparkling cider then throw the glass at the company letter. If you position yourself at the sallyport with a view of the company letter you can see this ritual play out. I wrote about my son’s senior year here.

The seniors will spend a little time inside the company then will join you outside the barracks for photos and to show off their ring. Have your camera ready! The seniors smile more this weekend than they have for the previous three years.

The Summerall Guards have a practice Friday afternoon. Others will have free time before the ring ceremony Friday night. (See this video from 1991 to see the tradition hasn’t changed much over the years.)

For families of knobs: If you can get to campus to see the march into the field house it will give you a glimpse into the pride the seniors feel. The knobs will cheer on the seniors and then will be able to leave campus fairly soon after the seniors go into the field house. As with everything else this first year the knobs are not in control of their time. Let them know when you will get to campus and ask them where they want to meet you. Be aware that some families will not be able to visit their son or daughter this weekend. If you can, invite your knob’s friends without family in town to join you. You will have the entire afternoon and evening together. Ask your son or daughter when they wan to return. Many go back a little early to get their rooms ready for open barracks in the morning.

1:00 – 3:30 pm – Information reception Various vendors and cadet clubs have display tables set up in Mark Clark Hall. Bring cash and your check book. In the past, some vendors have not taken credit cards. If you see something you want get it this weekend. There is no guarantee they will have it at a later big weekend.

6:00 pm – Ring Ceremony and Family Photos The evening begins with the Junior Sword Arch (JSA) opening the event by performing their silent drill. You are not required to be there for this, but it is a very neat performance to watch. Some families/groups who go through the ring later in the evening opt to go out to dinner rather than watch the JSA. Each company and group of cadets are given the time to go through the ring.

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. 2010 photo by Stanley Leary

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. 2010
photo by Stanley Leary

Traditionally the cadet escorts their mother through the ring. Over time this tradition has broadened to other significant people to the cadet. It is also traditional for the women to wear a formal dress since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. You will see cocktail length or evening slacks suits on some in attendance, but the majority still wear formal dresses. A video of the presentation from a previous year.

Gentleman going through the ring wear either a dark suit or a tuxedo. If the men are not walking through the ring they dress for the dinner plans the family has that evening. The cadet and whomever they escort are to be on line at least 15 minutes before their scheduled time. Be sure you wear comfortable shoes if you are walking through the ring as you may be waiting a while to walk through. The rest of the party not going through the ring go to the stands to sit and wait for them to walk through.

A note about dinner. Since the companies go through at different times each family/or group of families will decide when they need to have dinner. Reservations are important since it is a Friday night and a big weekend in Charleston. As a side note, many seniors reserve Friday night for family then will go out with their classmates Saturday night. Of course that too varies with each cadet/family.

Saturday, October 10:

8:00 am Buyer Auditorium, Mark Clark Hall – Coffee and juice is available for parents. Vendors of various types including the photographer who takes the company photos are available.

Parents of Regimental Band Company guests may enter Padgett-Thomas barracks at 8:00. Band company has other duties this morning.

The Class of 2018 receive their company letter.

The Class of 2018 receive their company letter.

8:30 – 10:15 Open Barracks Families and their guests can visit their cadet in their room. Some parents use this time to bring food items to their cadets. For many it is the first time to see the barracks room fully made up and inspection ready. The knobs have spent a lot of time on the company banner. Be sure to make a special note of the banner. There are various bulletin boards that are painted by the cadets in each company.

8:45- 9:15 am Kelly Cup Competition The Kelly Cup is a competition between squads made up of knobs from each company. The final four squads compete Saturday morning for the Kelly Cup. Your son or daughter will have told you if they are participating. If they are not you have more time to spend with them before their promotion ceremony.

9:30 – 10:00 Regimental Band and Pipes Concert Held on the parade field this is a nice concert to attend while the knobs prepare for their promotion ceremony.

10:10 – 10:20 am Fourth Class Promotion Ceremonies A very moving ceremony for the knobs and their families. The knobs are lined up in front of the company letter. Family and friends can watch from around the group. The company commander and the company 1st Sgt present the knobs with their company letter. Afterward they do push ups together. This ceremony marks the end of the cadre period.

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

Bravo Company knobs receive their company letter. October 2014

Once the ceremony is over the cadets get ready for the parade and families move to the parade field to wait for the parade to start.

Each year various groups of parents use this time to meet somewhere on the parade field to say hello to friends they have made through the various Facebook groups. This year I’ll be watching the promotion ceremony for Bravo Company then will be by the jet, “Annette” outside of 1st battalion.

11:00 – 11:45 am Review Dress Parade and Awards. Get your spot on the parade field or in the stands for the parade. Some people bring their own folding chairs and place them along the ropes before the parade to save a place. You’ll soon learn the best viewing spot for the company you want to see. It is nice to watch from the stands, but we enjoyed watching first battalion some on to the field from in front of Mark Clark Hall for some parades.

12:00 – 12:45 pm Lunch You have several option for lunch as outlined in the printed schedule. I think every family should eat in the mess hall at least once during the four years at the school. You’ll need to have reservations for the mess hall or a boxed lunch. Many families pack a picnic lunch, or bring food for their cadet then tailgate for their lunch. You will not be able to take your cadet off campus for lunch. The Citadel Alumni Association has a great BBQ lunch in the Holliday Alumni Center from 12 – 2:00 for $12 per person. It is good food and served int eh nice air conditioned room on the first floor. This is where I usually eat before the game.

The 2015 Summerall Guards prepare to perform The Citadel Series at halftime. Oct 2014

The 2015 Summerall Guards prepare to perform The Citadel Series at halftime. Oct 2014

2:00 Football Game The cadets march to the stadium from the barracks as fans line the street. The Summerall Guards perform at halftime. The cadets have to stay together in the stands during the game. The knobs will be able to get something to eat and drink at half time. Many families go ahead before half time and get them something to eat and drink and have it waiting for the knobs. If you haven’t already you can get tickets to the game through the ticket office. You can also buy tickets the day of the game.

Many families tailgate before and after the game. The families of knobs usually try to leave campus as soon as the football game is over and the knobs are released to leave. This first year knobs usually want to sleep, eat and sleep some more when they get off campus.

Sunday, October 11

9:00 Worship services in the chapel and Buyer Auditorium

The cadets have the day to be with family and friends.

Notes:

Dress: For families of cadets from knob year to junior year the dress for the weekend is casual.

Senior families Friday afternoon is business casual. The evening is formal (see notes above). Saturday is a typical football day.

Watch the weather forecast and pack accordingly. You cannot bring umbrellas into the football stadium but you can wear a rain poncho.

Parking: Like all big weekends, parking is tight. The earlier you arrive the better selection of parking spots you will have. See  the official weekend information for details

See the previous posts about Parents Weekend/Ring Weekend for more photos of the events:

Our Ring Weekend Adventure, Part 1

Our Ring Weekend Adventure, Part 2

The Citadel: Parents weekend Notes for the Class of 2014 and 2017

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Special Weekends: Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day, Recognition Day

The Citadel: Parents Weekend and Ring Weekend Tips

Senior Parent notes

The Citadel: Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

Parents’ Weekend/Ring Weekend, 2014

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings. photo by Stanley Leary

The Class of 2011 wait to receive their rings.
photo by Stanley Leary

Each year at this time the searches for information on Parents’ Weekend light up my search stats for the blog. Since not much changes from year to year, I am posting the answers to the frequently asked questions and providing a link to previous blog posts on the topic.

The schedule for the weekend can be found on the home page of the school website, or by clicking HERE.

The schedule for the companies to go through the ring is on the weekly training schedule for October 6 – 12, click HERE, and scroll to the week’s schedule.

The dress for senior parents: for the afternoon ring presentation at 12:55, the cadets are in their most formal uniform. We decided to wear nice clothes for this event as well. You will see a little of everything.

The Ring Ceremony is when seniors traditionally escort their mother through the replica of the ring. It is really just an opportunity for a photo, but it is still a very meaningful event. Traditionally moms wear a long formal dress. You will see some in a cocktail type dress. Some cadets escort a girlfriend or other family member along with their mother.

other friends and family can watch from the stands. They do not have to wear formal attire.

Some cadets get a group together to eat before or after walking through the ring. The timing for dinner depends on when you go through the ring and the preference of the group. In 2010 Bravo company had an 8:30pm time so we went to dinner at 5:30 then went to campus. The cadets wore their blazers to dinner then changed. The moms wore their gowns to dinner.

The family and friends of the members of the Junior Sword Arch like to attend the beginning of the ceremony. Anyone can attend the event, but usually it is just the JSA families and friends, and the family and friends of seniors.

Saturday morning the barracks open and the four Kelly Cup squads compete. The knobs are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates in a ceremony in front of their company letter.

The parade is at 11:00, followed by lunch. The cadets only have 45 minutes so packing a picnic or eating in the mess hall are the best bet. You do need tickets to eat in the mess hall. See the calendar linked above for that information.  After knob year some families just opt to tailgate for lunch.

It tends to still be warm in Charleston in October. Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you’ll be prepared with the right clothes.

The Summerall Guards perform during halftime of the football game.

After the football game the cadets have general leave.

Sunday the cadets have general leave for most of the day.

I am looking forward to being on campus for the first time since 2010. Last Spring I had the winning bid at the Brigadier Foundation fundraiser to shoot the cannon at halftime of the football game. My husband will be on the sideline shooting the game (Stanley is a photographer). My daughter and I will shoot the cannon then head back to the stands.

I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting many of the people. I only know through Facebook.

A variety of photos from Friday night of Ring Weekend

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring. photo by Stanley Leary

My son invited a good friend to join us as we went through the ring.
photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

photo by Stanley Leary

Saturday morning promotion ceremony photos:

Senior cadet and a member of the 2008 Summerall Guards, Mike Mason talks to his knob mentee, Nelson Lalli during the 4th Class promotion ceremony, October 2007. Both men are now graduates and officers int eh U.S. Army.

Senior cadet and a member of the 2008 Summerall Guards, Mike Mason talks to his knob mentee, Nelson Lalli during the 4th Class promotion ceremony, October 2007. Both men are now graduates and officers int eh U.S. Army.

Bravo '11 knobs do their push ups with the cadre after receiving their company letter.

Bravo ’11 knobs do their push ups with the cadre after receiving their company letter.

Bravo Company knobs face the Company Commander during the promotion ceremony, 2007.

Bravo Company knobs face the Company Commander during the promotion ceremony, 2007.

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent's Weekend. photo by Seth Ruff

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent’s Weekend.
photo by Seth Ruff

The promotion ceremony, 2010. photo by Stanley Leary

The promotion ceremony, 2010.
photo by Stanley Leary

Gearing Up for the New School Year: Information for Citadel and LDAC Cadet Families

Cars begin to line up at the alumni center in the early morning hours of Matriculation Day.

Cars begin to line up at the alumni center in the early morning hours of Matriculation Day.

As the excitement and fun of the 4th of July holiday is winding down, I have observed an increase in search terms relating to Matriculation Day for the Class of 2018, Parents Weekend for the Class of 2015 and oddly enough LDAC information. The first two categories I expect each year at this time. What I have realized is the US Army moved their Leader Development and Assessment Course to Ft. Knox from Joint Base Lewis McChord and the way they are now delivering information to family and friends is not as easy to find or complete as in years past.

For the family and friends of cadets at LDAC I will include a few links I have found for current information. Be sure to click the links provided within these pages for more information:

On Facebook: U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Summer Training 

Leader Development and Assessment Course blog site

ROTC CST YouTube channel

LDAC photos

U.S.Army Cadet Command news

For the Class of 2018 and their parents: The school has now updated the Matriculation Day information on their website. Be sure to check out each and every link and entry on the list. Some, like the assessments link, include links to items you MUST act on by a particular date.

I’ve noted a few changes from years past. In the Success Packet they now ask that incoming knobs label their clothes. Bedding will be labeled by the laundry service. In years past this was part of the first week experience. See page 7 of the Success Packet for the complete instructions. Tips for the items on the Success Packet required list and the Citadel Family Associations “Nice to Have List” can be found on this previous blog post, Welcome to the Class of 2018.

A knob checks in at the table in the sallyport (entrance) of the barracks.

A knob checks in at the table in the sallyport (entrance) of the barracks.

Another large change is the school will not be mailing a copy of the Guidon, the book that knobs MUST learn and memorize parts of this year. It is available online. They suggest incoming knobs begin to memorize the knob knowledge prior to Matriculation Day. The  List of Knob Knowledge and where to find the information is on page 55 of the Guidon available online.

A few helpful links for the Class of 2018 follow. I suggest taking time and reading through the previous posts about knob year too:

The Admission’s office Matriculation Day Headquarters page

The Office of the Commandant‘s Matriculation Information page

For an over view of Parents Weekend see the entries at the end of the post.

The Facebook group for parents, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018
( please request to join and also send me a note on Facebook or an email, found in the About Dorie section of this blog, to verify you are the parent of a cadet. Extended family members and friends are not allowed in the group)

Entering knobs place their belongings on the side walk outside the barracks and go to check in. Family members wait by the belongings.

Entering knobs place their belongings on the side walk outside the barracks and go to check in. Family members wait by the belongings.

 

After the gates close the knobs line up in their company to prepare to march to lunch.

After the gates close the knobs line up in their company to prepare to march to lunch.

For the parents of the Class of 2015:

Congratulations!! You are about to enter one of the most fun years at The Citadel. Ring Weekend will be here before you know it, October 10 – 12, 2014. If you haven’t done so already be sure to book your accommodations for the weekend. Be ready to see your cadet smile like you haven’t seen them smile on campus before.

The activities begin Friday with the ring presentation around noon. If you can get there early enough to watch them march into the field house as the knobs cheer them on. It is open seating for this event and there are no limits to the number of people who can attend. You will see all types of dress on the people attending. It is an important event. The cadets will be in there most formal uniform. Families should dress comfortably but appropriately for the occasion.

The Class of 2011 runs to the chapel after receiving their rings.

The Class of 2011 runs to the chapel after receiving their rings.

Bravo '11 members run through the sword arch.

Bravo ’11 members run through the sword arch.

Bravo '11 members show off their rings.

Bravo ’11 members show off their rings.

After they receive their rings the seniors RUN out of the field house and knock their rings on the chapel, a nod to the days they received them in the chapel in a ceremony just for cadets. They then Run back into their barracks for a toast at the company letter. Station yourself at a sallyport with a view of the company letter and have a zoom lens for great photos. Our son’s senior year his TAC allowed my husband and a few others into the battalion to take photos. You should not assume permission will be granted. Check with the TAC Friday morning to see the current policy.

The afternoon, from about 2:00 until it is your cadet’s company designated time to go through the ring, is free time. The Cadet Activities office posts the Ring Ceremony information sometime in September. Check their website.

Each company is assigned a time to go through the ring by the Cadet Activities office. It is really just a photo opportunity for the cadet and their family. Whomever will walk through the ring with their senior cadet needs to arrive 15 minutes before their designated time. The wait can take up to an hour, so be sure you have on comfortable shoes for standing. You will be instructed on where to look as you walk through the ring and the sword arch. If you have a high-end camera your family member or friend may be able to get a good photo without a flash. Anyone not going through the ring can watch from the stands. There is no dress code to sit and watch. Anyone walking through the ring should dress appropriately for this formal occasion. It is tradition for women to wear a formal gown, but in recent years many have worn cocktail length dresses, or a dressy skirt and blouse. Like most everything else on campus, you will see a little of everything.

Dinner reservations should be made around the time the company’s designated time to go through the ring. Our year Bravo Company went through after 8:00, so a group of us met for an early dinner. Our cadets then went out together, without parents afterward.

The Junior Sword Arch opens the presentation around 6:00, see the official schedule this fall for exact times. Anyone can attend and see this performance.

After the Friday festivities the rest of the weekend is like every other Parents Weekend, open barracks Saturday, a concert on the parade field, parade lunch on your own and the football game.

A few members of Bravo Company and their dates pose by the company letter before they walk through the ring.

A few members of Bravo Company and their dates pose by the company letter before they walk through the ring.

You can see photos of dresses worn in previous years on the blog entries listed here:

The Citadel Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

The Citadel Parents Weekend Ring Weekend Tips

The Citadel: Parent Weekend Tips for the Class of 2014 and 2017

The Citadel: Parent’s Weekend and Ring Weekend 2013

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.

The year is flying by, at least for me. It’s hard to believe the cadets who were knobs my son’s senior year will receive their rings October 4.  I envy the senior families. Ring Weekend was a highlight of our four years of visits to The Citadel.

Of course it is also a big weekend for knobs and their families. The promotion ceremony Saturday morning is a huge step in the life of a knob. They will move from being cadet recruits to full members of the Corps of Cadets, but still lowly knobs. I’ve written several entries about the weekend and will include links below.

The school has posted the schedule for the weekend to their website. Senior parents can find the Ring ceremony details and schedule on the Cadet Activities website.

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Special Weekends: Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day, Recognition Day

The Citadel: Parents’ Weekend and Ring Weekend tips

The Citadel: Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

The Citadel: Parents Weekend Notes For Parents of the Class of 2014 and 2017

Senior Parent notes

The Class of 2014 at their promotion ceremony in 2010.

The Class of 2014 at their promotion ceremony in 2010.

 

The Citadel and the Fellowship of THE Ring

The Ring
photo by Stanley Leary

When I was 13 years old my brother gave me The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Years later my oldest son became interested in the tales of J.R.R. Tolkien. The books involve a tale of the One Ring that controls the others.

Years later I was struck at the similarities and differences between the One Ring and The Ring the senior cadets at The Citadel receive their senior year. The One Ring is one of power over people. The Citadel ring that a graduate wears is also one of power. The Citadel ring’s strength is in the power of friendship forged through the tough training the cadets endure over their four years. The power of The Citadel ring goes beyond the graduates and in many cases influences the families of the one who wears the ring.

One of the most moving accounts of the bond forged by the graduates who wear the ring is told by Pat Conroy. He told this story in his book, My Losing Season, and he also told the story in his commencement address in 2001. I can’t read the story without tears welling up in my eyes. Talk to many graduates and their families and they can tell you their own story of the Ring. In her book In the Company of Men, Nancy Mace details her father’s story of recovering his lost ring in the swampy fields of Vietnam.

Two weeks from now the Class of 2013 will receive their rings. It is a huge weekend for seniors and their families. My son used to say that the ring, and what it symbolizes, is more important to him than his diploma. Everyone who graduates from a college or university gets a diploma. Not everyone can earn the right to wear The Citadel Ring.

Over the past five years I have had the privilege to see what the power of this ring can do. As the chair of the Georgia Citadel Parents Group for a few years I had the honor of witnessing the kindness of the members of the Atlanta Citadel Club when they heard a cadet was in need. One had trouble meeting the out-of-state tuition and was helped by a graduate. Another family had a crisis and weren’t sure they could get their cadet home, the alumni offered to pay for a flight. If a knob needed a ride back to campus from Georgia I just posted the need and within minutes offers to help would pour in.

This giving nature also applies to the families of the cadets. A family suffered the death of a grandparent. Their cadet couldn’t afford to travel to the funeral. A ticket arrived in the mail paid for by another family who heard of their need. When a cadet or graduate is deployed the moral support for the family of the soldier pours in.

Each year cadets and graduates are sent overseas to war. When one Citadel Mom learned that current cadets were going to war she founded The Citadel Heroes Project. Volunteers donate items and cards that are sent to the deployed cadets and graduates a few times a year. It is a huge effort that means so much to the recipients.

A young graduate died just months after graduation and before he reported to his first duty station. The roommate of the deceased was left behind to tie up the loose ends. A few of us attended the memorial service in Summerall Chapel. I was asked to read a poem during the service on behalf of the Citadel Family Association. A few of us moms learned it was difficult for the surviving roommate to go to the mail box each day and see mail to his deceased classmate/roommate/good friend. The Citadel Moms each took a week and sent baked goods gift cards for coffee shops and food. For eight weeks the surviving roommate went to his mailbox to find these gifts of love and support from his Citadel Moms.

Recently it was brought to the attention of a group of alumni that a few seniors, due to a number of circumstances, couldn’t afford to pay off the balance on their rings. Within a matter of hours alumni of all types, young and old, male and female, came together to donate the money needed to pay off the rings for these deserving seniors. When parents of current cadets and graduates heard of this effort, they too wanted to help. It was an amazing show of support by the members of The Citadel family. On October 12 the qualified cadets will receive their rings with the rest of their class.

Wearing the ring is something I will never experience. It was my son and his classmates that proved they were worthy of the honor of joining the Long Gray Line of graduates. They are family, not just classmates. I can tell you being a family member of the person who wears the ring makes you part of their extended Citadel family.

Pat Conroy used the sentence “I wear the ring.” in The Lords of Discipline to summarize the importance of his time at The Citadel and the bond he shares with others who wear the ring. The cadets who went through the rigors of the 4th Class System understand that sentence differently than any one else who reads it.

The parents and family members of the cadets and graduates can only get glimpses of what it means.

Bravo ’11 wear the ring. Photo by Stanley Leary

A group of friends who met through their cadets time at The Citadel.
photo by Stanley Leary

The Citadel: Parents/Ring Weekend 2012 + Hotel Info

Knobs line the street Friday afternoon. The seniors will process between them on their way to receive their rings in the field house.

Only four weeks until Parents Weekend at The Citadel. I won’t be attending the events, but I am in touch with quite a few parents who are looking forward to October 12. Parents of knobs can’t wait to visit their knob and see the barracks and the other activities on campus. The senior parents, especially the moms, are getting ready to see their cadet receive their hard-earned ring and walk through the giant replica of the ring Friday night.

Bravo Company banner, 2007.

Knob parents:

  • Parking is hard to find so get to campus early and plan to walk a lot.
  • If you can, arrive early enough on Friday to see the knobs line the street in front of the barracks. The seniors will walk between the knobs on their way to receive their rings. he knobs cheer them on as they pass by.
  • Friday afternoon belongs to the seniors. You are encouraged to visit the academic departments with your knob then take them off campus for the afternoon and evening.
  • Be sure to pay special attention to the company banner Saturday morning. The knobs work very hard to make sure the banner looks great. There are also bulletin boards to take note of as well.
  • Make lunch plans for Saturday. You can eat in the Coward Mess hall with your cadet and will need a ticket. You can purchase them in advance or on Friday afternoon through the Cadet Activities office. Boxed lunches are also available or you can bring your own lunch.
  • Bravo Company banner, 2010.
    photo by Stanley Leary

Bulletin board recognizing the one 2011 Summerall Guard member in Bravo Company.
photo by Stanley Leary

The promotion ceremony, 2010.
photo by Stanley Leary

The Ring Presentation ceremony begins. 2010
photo by Stanley Leary

Senior parents:

  • If you can arrive Thursday evening so you can get to campus early on Friday. The parking as on most big weekends is tight.
  • Dress for the afternoon should be in keeping with the occasion. The cadets are in their most formal uniform. You will see people in a variety of different types of clothes. a Jacket and tie for the gentlemen and a dress or nice slacks for the ladies is appropriate. Again you’ll see families in a variety of different clothes Friday afternoon.
  • Friday evening plans will revolve around when your cadets company is scheduled to go through the ring. Cadet Activities posts the schedule.
  • Dress for the mothers and anyone else going through the ring with the cadet is formal.
  • Check with your cadet to see what the plans are for dinner that night. Some eat before they go through the ring others go after.
  • Ladies, be aware that  you may be standing behind the scenes for a while before you go through the ring.
  • Family members not going through the ring go inside the field house to watch the presentations.

Our family outside 1st Battalion after the ring ceremony.

If you plan on being in Charleston for the weekend I hope you have your hotel reservations. If not, I have some information to share with you regarding availability.

Hotels I’ve checked with have given me the following availability and rate information for Parents Weekend and Homecoming. You can also try hotels.com or another web site to find a hotel at a good rate. Vrbo.com is a good place to start if you’d like a rental property. If you are staying three nights and are looking for a rental property call recent grad, Chip Morrison, of Carolina One Realty, 843-343-3525.

  • Comfort Inn near campus has availability for both parents Weekend and Homecoming. Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate. They also offer a frequent guest program. Be sure to ask about it at the desk at check in.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Charleston North/Univ Area Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate. They offer a discount on their regular rate.
  • Hawthorn Suites has some rooms for Oct. 13th  and still has availability for Homecoming. Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate.  $74 plus tax.
  • Homewood Suites Charleston Airport is offering a nightly rate of $137 plus tax for Parents Weekend. Call the front desk, 843-735-5000 and ask for The Citadel rate.
  • LaQuinta Inn & Suites Charleston Riverview is sold out for Parents Weekend but does have rooms for Homecoming. Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate. $92 plus tax.
  • Marriott Charleston has a limited amount of rooms for October 13 for the special rate of $189. For Homecoming they have a few rooms left and selling for a two night minimum for Friday and Saturday. THe rate is $319 per room per night.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown/Riverview Limited rooms available. Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate. They offer a discount on their regular rate.
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Riverview Limited rooms available. Call directly and ask for The Citadel rate. They offer a discount on their regular rate.

Other posts about Parents Weekend/Ring Weekend:

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Special Weekends: Parents Weekend, Homecoming, Corps Day, Recognition Day

The Citadel: Parents Weekend and Ring Weekend Tips

Senior Parent notes

You’ll see a variety of outfits Friday night at the Ring Ceremony:

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