Monday, January 8, 2007

Countdown to the Ring

In about twelve days I should be getting my replacement Ring in the mail.

On October 9th, 1993, I walked across Summerall Field in a long line to file into Summerall Chapel, what I still feel is the most beautiful church in the world. After a few speeches, we each walked up to the front and were given a small grey jewelry box, which we carried back to our seats. The tradition was for the entire class to put them on at the same time, so until the last senior had his box in hand and was back at our seat, we couldn't take them out of the box.

A lot of my classmates opened the boxes to look at the prized artifact that we had all worked so hard to get. For some reason, I remember taking it as a final test of discipline to wait until I put it on to lay my eyes on it. While the remaining 150 or so seniors' names were called, I stood there in the pew, in my full dress uniform, and stared at the grey box in my hands. I thought of all the people that had gotten me to where I was, of all the trials and tribulations of my life and time at The Citadel, of my family, my God, and my hopes and dreams. I said one final prayer of "thank you" to God and to my sister, Jenny, as the last names were called.

I can't remember the exact words, but the MC at the front of the chapel said something along the lines of "and now, members of the Class of 1994, remove your Rings from their boxes and place them on your hands, joining the thousands of men who have come before you in the Long Grey Line." I do remember the noise of hundreds of boxes snapping shut as we all put them on together, and I remember tears filling my eyes as I looked at the Band of Gold on my hand for the first time.

That was 13 1/2 years ago. Five years ago, my Ring was lost in the mail, and I vowed never to replace the Ring that had meant so much to me--as it wouldn't mean as much. It still won't but I finally caved and now it is only a couple of weeks away. I've been thinking that we should do something special the day that I get it, so that I can put it on with my family there at dinner or something. Not sure what to do at this point.

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