The secret behind the US Naval Academy hat toss

Posted at 1:42 AM, May 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-27 01:42:21-04

ANNAPOLIS, MD (CNN) - On Friday, 1,053 new Navy and Marine Corps officers were commissioned during the naval academy graduation ceremony in Annapolis, MD.

Graduates gave three cheers for those they left behind and threw their hats into the air in celebration.

The hat toss has been a tradition since 1912.

That's when the naval academy allowed graduates to be commissioned during the ceremony instead of serving two years as a fleet midshipmen before being commissioned.

The graduates throw the hats because as newly commissioned officers they don't need midshipman hats.

By the way, all those hats are collected by children who rush the field after the ceremony and keep them as souvenirs.

The midshipmen also have a tradition of including a message on the inside of their hats, a military coin or money.

This year some taped $20.17 inside the hat cover. 

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