Graduates of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1999 keep the "hat toss" tradition alive.
Jubilant graduates of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1999 keep the "hat toss" tradition alive, marking an end to their graduation and commissioning ceremonies on May 26, 1999, in Annapolis Md. The hat toss tradition originated at the Naval Academy in 1912. Before then, academy graduates were required to serve two years in the fleet as midshipmen before being commissioned as officers in the Navy; thus they had a need for their midshipman hats. The Class of 1912, commissioned at graduation, was issued officer caps, and in a spontaneous gesture, tossed the midshipmen hats into the air. This hat toss has since become the symbolic end to the four-year program at Annapolis.