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United States Naval Academy -Continued - 12966_209
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Appointment Process
4. Midshipmen must not take their partner’s arm  under  any  circumstances. 5.  Midshipmen  will  not  leave  the  ballroom floor  until  the  dance  has  been  completed and all officers and their guests have left. The  Department  of  Discipline  also  strictly regulated smoking. For many years, midshipmen were  not  permitted  to  smoke  in  their  rooms. Later, first classmen were given the privilege of keeping  their  smoking  articles  in  Recreation  Hall; there  they  could  gather  after  dinner  to  smoke  and talk.  The  custom  gave  Recreation  Hall  its  more popular  name  “Smoke  Hall.” A significant and colorful event in the life of a midshipman—the  Ring  Dance—had  its  origin in  the  1920s.  For  some  time  first  classmen  had observed the custom of throwing second classmen into Dewey Basin as soon as the latter had become eligible  to  wear  their  class  rings.  (They  became eligible to wear their class rings after passing their final  exams  for  the  year.)  In  1924  this  custom resulted  in  the  tragic  drowning  of  a  second classman, so it was replaced by the Ring Dance. The Ring Dance has several special features. One is the Ring Dance Dinner, the only occasion when midshipmen may entertain their ladies at dinner  in  the  mess  hall.  The  most  important feature, however, is the presentation of the rings. At  the  scene  of  the  dance,  on  a  carpeted  dais, stands a huge golden ring modeled after the class ring. The ring is surmounted by a glowing globe that  simulates  the  jewel  of  the  ring.  As  each couple  approaches  the  replica  of  the  ring,  the  lady dips  the  midshipman’s  ring,  suspended  from  a ribbon,  into  a  compass  binnacle.  The  binnacle is   filled   with   water   from   the   Severn   River and the seven seas, symbolic of the midshipman’s present and future home. The couple then passes through  the  replica  where  she  places  the  ring on  his  finger.  It  is  a  moment  charged  with romance,  especially  if  he  presents  her  with  a miniature  class  ring,  regarded  as  equivalent  to  an engagement  ring.  They  then  kiss  and  seal  the ceremony. In 1926 an exciting and historical Army-Navy football  game  took  place  at  Soldier’s  Field  in Chicago. The largest crowd ever to watch a foot- ball   game—110,000   persons—saw   Navy   come from   behind   to   tie   Army   21-21.   Midshipman Tom  Hamilton  (now  Rear  Admiral  Thomas  J. Hamilton,  Ret.)  was  the  Navy’s  hero  as  he kicked  the  tying  point  that  gave  Navy  an undefeated  season  and  a  claim  to  the  national title. In  1930  six  midshipmen  were  awarded  Rhodes Scholarships—a  record  number.  In  that  same year,  the  Association  of  American  Universities accredited the Academy as a member. Following that, Congress passed a law in 1933 authorizing the Academy to grant bachelor of science degrees to  all  graduates,  beginning  with  the  class  of  1931. Subsequently,  in  1939  Congress  authorized  the award of the B.S. degree to all living graduates. After the entry of the United States into World War  II,  the  Academy  accelerated  its  course  of study. The class of 1942 graduated 6 months early in  December  1941,  and  the  class  of  1943  joined them in the fleet the following June. Throughout the  war,  the  three  remaining  classes  (plebes, youngsters,  and  finishers)  pursued  a  program  that placed   greater   emphasis   on   professional   and technological   courses. The  brilliant  role  played  by  Academy graduates in all theaters in World War II forms an  indelible  page  in  the  nation’s  and  Navy’s history. The  ending  of  World  War  II  caused  a  minor mishap  to  one  noted  landmark  in  the  Academy yard—the  Japanese  Bell.  In  1845  the  Regent  of Napha,  Ryukyu  Islands,  presented  this  bell  to Commodore   Matthew   C.   Perry   during   his expedition  to  Japan.  After  his  death,  his  widow presented  it  to  the  Naval  Academy  (in  1859) according  to  his  wish.  Traditionally,  the  bell  is rung  only  after  a  victory  over  Army  in  football. An exception to this was made on V-J Day in 1945 when the bell was struck with such enthusiasm that it cracked. Today a replica of the Japanese Bell  stands  outside  Bancroft  Hall,  the  original having  been  returned  to  Okinawa  in  1987. Today  these  traditions  and  many  others remain at the Naval Academy. Plebes still come through  the  Academy  gates  in  July  and  do  not leave  the  yard  again  until  the  end  of  August. White-capped  midshipmen  in  dress  blue  and  brass buttons still pass in review on Worden Field, and drum  rolls  still  thunder  in  the  courtyard  of Bancroft  Hall  during  meal  formations. Academy  graduates  continue  to  distinguish themselves in military roles as well as in public life. President Jimmy Carter (class of 1947) was a successful businessman, a state governor, and the  first  Academy  graduate  to  hold  the  highest office  in  the  land. Along  with  the  continuing  traditions  at  the Naval  Academy,  exciting  changes,  academically and   physically,   reflect   the   trends   and   needs of  the  times.  Midshipmen  no  longer  march  to classes,  just  as  they  are  no  longer  locked  into 10-6

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