Navy marks end of year

Academy holds events today through May 26


Every May, Annapolis fills to the brim with visitors who come to watch U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen climb a grease-slicked obelisk or toss their caps at graduation.

Whole networks of residents take in relatives of Mids, while in another tradition the city all but shuts down for the Blue Angels' annual flight demonstration of aerial wonders.

The events are part of Recognition Week, when plebes are officially welcomed as midshipmen, and Commissioning Week, when seniors graduate and are sworn in as officers in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Manuel Perry, an 84-year-old Pasadena resident who served on the USS Columbia in World War II, said he has come to Annapolis to enjoy the events for as long as he can remember.

"I've got a war record as long as your arm, and I love the Navy," he said, laughing. "I go every year."

For bigger events, traffic snarls and roads close, so Naval Academy officials suggest parking at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and taking a shuttle to the academy. From Monday to May 25, the shuttle will be free and will make pickups at 30-minute intervals between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

For more information on the following events, call 410-293-1000 for a recording of the daily schedule:

Welcome Parade

What: In this formal spring parade, the Naval Academy officially welcomes plebes and celebrates the end of a year.

Where: On the Yard

When: 11 a.m. today

Cost: Free

Herndon Climb

What: Freshmen band together to scale Herndon Monument, a 21-foot obelisk slathered in lard, one of several events during Recognition Week, when plebes become "youngsters," or sophomores.

Where: On the Yard

When: 9 a.m. tomorrow

Cost: Free

Ring Dance

What: Juniors officially become seniors when they receive their class rings in this rite of passage. The rings are blessed by being dipped into a bowl of water from all seven seas, a symbol of the Mids' commitment to the Navy. A formal dance follows.

Where: The dance on the Yard is not open to the public; fireworks can be seen from across the Severn River.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Blue Angels

What: Weather permitting, anyone in Annapolis can enjoy aerial wizardry from the Navy's precision-flight team.

Where: Over the Severn River. Route 450 will be closed, and no anchoring will be allowed in certain areas of the Severn.

When: From 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday

Cost: Free

Color Parade

What: The Naval Academy recognizes the best company of midshipmen with this parade and presentation of colors. The event is open to the public, but seating is not available.

Where: On the Yard

When: 11 a.m. May 25

Cost: Free


What: Vice President Dick Cheney will address the midshipmen as they graduate and receive their commissions in the Navy or Marine Corps. Not open to the public.

Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

When: 10 a.m. May 26

Cost: Free

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