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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Tradition 

The Naval Academy is changing the words of "Navy Blue and Gold," which is not the "fight song" as CNN claims (that would be "Anchors Aweigh"), but rather the alma mater. The Academy is striking the word "men" from the song, "saying the lyrics excluded women from the school's heritage." "Navy Blue and Gold" is probably a more important and well-known song to Midshipmen and alumni than the fight song is. It is sung at the end of every day during Plebe Summer, and is almost the first thing memorized by Plebes. The song is also sung at the end of a lot of Academy functions, including each football game. It is most poignantly sung after the annual Army-Navy game, when it and West Point's alma mater are sung, with the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets standing respectfully for the other school's song.

In short, it's a huge part of the Naval Academy tradition. And now, it's going to be just a little bit different.

I suspect that the old version will last long after the words are changed. Supposedly, this year's graduation and commissioning will feature the new words, but if I know Mids, I wouldn't count on them playing along.

And of course, all of us from the days before the change will never sing the song in any other way than how we learned it.

So many little changes happen over the course of time, but they can add up. Telephones in dorm rooms here, Plebes allowed to date there, a change to a traditional song... Am I going to be one of those old duffers who says "Back when I was a mid...?"

Have I become one already, before I've even hit 30?

Well, here's one tradition that isn't going away. (I think):

BEAT ARMY!

UPDATE: Fellow Boat Schooler LT Smash weighs in.
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