CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Long Gray Line parade is a centuries-long tradition at the Citadel. On Friday, more than 500 cadets lined up on Summerall Field for their final march as students.
“I’ve said it before, I’m just grateful,” says Cadet Ruby Bolden, Regimental Public Affairs Officer.
Because of strict COVID-19 guidelines, this is the first and last parade of the school year for the military college. While every student typically participates in the tradition, the ceremony was limited to seniors, freshman and a few juniors.
The tradition of the Long Gray Line dates back to the school’s earliest roots in the 1800s. It’s symbolism stands for a cadet’s transition from student to alumni. The group of more than 27,000 alumni is also known as the Long Gray Line.
“Overwhelmed, I guess. Thrilled, ecstatic — I don’t know what to say honestly,” says Cadet Aiden Massey as he joins his family after the ceremony.
Massey says standing in that line is an indescribable experience, especially knowing this may be one of the last times they see their classmates.
“Those are the guys you live with for 4 years and you’re leaving each other now. I’m very happy it’s done, but it’s bittersweet because it’s sad too,” says Massey.
Bolden says she is thrilled to have the opportunity to experience this tradition after a challenging senior year.
“Because of our resilience and our cohesion as a corps, we were able to accomplish this. I’m just really grateful,” she says.
Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 will begin on Saturday, May 8th at McAlister Field House. Click here for more details.