After enduring four weeks of Cadet Basic Training and overcoming many challenges, the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2024 officially integrated into the Corps of Cadets during the Acceptance Day Parade Saturday.
The plebes (freshman) spent Reorganization Week on The Plain rehearsing parade formation and marching in cadence in preparation for the ceremony. They also acquired textbooks and laptops for the upcoming semester.
Training concluded with festive music performed by the West Point Band and the plebes marching triumphantly onto The Plain donning their white over grays with white face masks. The plebes filed into their companies and marched in formation past the reviewing party as they were accepted into the Corps.
Family and friends were unable to attend the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the inconvenience, the event was live-streamed, and plebes rejoiced in spirit with their loved ones.
“I feel very humbled. My father graduated in 1990, my uncle graduated in ‘96 and I hear all these stories about everything going on in West Point.” Class of 2024 Cadet Sean Kyuh Huh said. “I wasn’t necessarily raised on the idea that I was going to West Point, but it was always that if you ever wanted to serve something bigger than yourself — if you ever want to feel very accomplished in what you’re doing, look at West Point.”
Despite following in the same footsteps as his father and uncle, Huh encountered the unique challenge of completing CBT during a pandemic. Huh said it was difficult at first knowing that he wouldn’t be able to see his family on A-Day due to COVID-19, but he knew he had to dig deep in order to succeed and complete his training.
“Experiencing that allows a Soldier to understand that it’s a very humbling experience.” Huh said. “I know at this point this is one the most memorable moments in my life.”
Class of 2024 Cadet Thomas Woodbery stressed the importance of embracing the hardship of CBT. His parents’ advice on the dangers of approaching the training with unrealistic expectations played a crucial role in keeping Woodbery resilient throughout CBT before being accepted into the Corps of Cadets.
“It’s supposed to be hard and there’s a reason behind everything. So, just go to West Point and know this has got to be hard and prepare yourself for that,” Woodbery said of the advice he received from his parents.
Typically, following the parade, the plebes get embraced by their families and can leave the base and spend the remainder of the day with them. However, due to COVID-19, they were unable to leave base. Pizza was ordered for them and upperclassmen provided PlayStations and Xboxes.