A brief history of the West Point hat toss

On Wednesday, the class of 2014 graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. The Post’s David Nakamura, who was there to cover President Obama’s speech laying out a new foreign policy, shared these images of the “hat toss” marking the end of the graduation ceremony:

The hat toss, which has become the archetypal image depicting the West Point graduation, is an interesting part of the ceremony. It dates back to the period immediately following World War II. While the first class graduated in 1802, the first documented hat toss took place in 1946, according to the Army.

Along with cash, cadets leave notes, pictures and other items inside their hats for the children who rush the field to grab a hat after the ceremony. Children between the ages of 6 and 10 are allowed to take one hat each.

And quite a few children line up to make sure they get their hat, as this image from Wednesday’s ceremony shows:

 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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