WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Following six weeks of training and a week getting used to life at the U.S. Military Academy, the members of the Class of 2023 officially joined the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day Parade Saturday on The Plain.
The class started its 47-month journey through West Point on July 1, and 1,187 members of the class completed the March Back Aug. 12 signifying the end of Cadet Basic Training.
They then spent reorganization week going through everything needed to prepare them for the academic year including receiving their computers and picking up their textbooks for the semester. The week was also filled with parade practice as they learned for the first time to perform the drill maneuvers needed for Acceptance Day and other parades throughout the year.
The seven weeks of preparation culminated Saturday when they marched onto The Plain, stepped into line with their companies and officially became members of the Corps of Cadets.
"It's a big honor," Class of 2023 Cadet Caroline Todd said. "It was a really tough summer, but it's totally worth it to see what it's going to be like for us for the next few years. It's just a big honor to be accepted into the corps and I'm really excited."
Todd followed her family tradition by choosing to attend West Point as both of her parents and two older sisters proceeded her at the academy. Todd said she got "chills" when it was finally her chance to join the corps,
"I kind of have always had West Point in the back of my mind," Todd said. "I really liked the people and I like the atmosphere and I like the determination everyone has."
Unlike other parades throughout the year, during the Acceptance Day Parade the plebe class marches in separately from the rest of the corps. Then, prior to the pass and review the companies open ranks and allow their newest members to join in.
"It is awesome. It is quite surreal really," Class of 2023 Cadet Brayden Aras said. "To me, it is the best system I can really put myself through and see what I can do and be able to offer everything I can to them."
Following the parade, Class of 2023 cadets were able to see their families for the first time since Reception Day. The plebes were given an extended window to talk or video chat with family during New Cadet Visitation Day at the midpoint of CBT, but other than that contact has been limited.
"It was amazing, and the emotions are overflowing," Harold Border said of seeing his daughter, Class of 2023 Cadet Christina Border, join the corps. "It really hasn't sunk in yet, but I'm just proud of her and I'm really excited about the choice she's made. She's going to do great things and country is very important for her and so I'm very proud of her choice."