Recognition Day 2015: the most important day of the year for Citadel freshmen

The march to "Citadel Green" is the longest parade of the year.

The march to “Citadel Green” is the longest parade of the year for Knobs.

Support newest members of the S.C. Corps of Cadets during iconic march to Marion Square

Young men and women who entered The Citadel as freshmen last fall are counting down the hours until their fourth class status ends and they are officially sworn in as members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. That will happen on Saturday, April 11, Recognition Day 2015. For freshmen, known on campus as knobs, Recognition Day marks the end of the highly regimented way of life that is The Citadel’s Fourth Class System, recognized as one of the toughest college military-training systems in the country.

The day begins at sunrise and includes hours of rigorous physical training tests and drills which are overseen by the regimental staff and the Commandant of Cadets. Those activities include an obstacle course nicknamed The Gauntlet, which will be set up on Summerall Field and will get underway at 10:30 a.m. It will be followed by one of the most iconic sights in Charleston – the Recognition Day March to Marion Square. The march begins at 3 p.m. at the college’s main gate. The freshmen will proceed in formation down Moultrie St., turning right on King St. to Marion Square, which was the college’s original parade ground in the mid-1800s.

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“They will be very tired but very proud as they march through the city,” said Cadet Logan Hester, Regimental Public Affairs Officer and member of the Citadel Class of 2015. Recognition Day is one of the two most important days in any cadet’s career at The Citadel, along with Ring Day. “Freshman year here is a lot like boot camp in the military, but with the addition of what can be a grueling academic and leadership studies schedule. The thought of Recognition Day, when the upperclassmen truly accept the knobs as cadets, is what gets many through the nine-month long, fourth-class training.”

Hundreds of Charlestonians, visitors, alumni, family and friends line the streets to cheer for the knobs as they march, dressed in their brilliant, white uniforms, to attend “The Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green” which will get underway at about 3:30 p.m. The day’s events follow three weeks of Transition to Recognition Training during which the knobs take classes examining their leadership and ethics skills, as well as their knowledge of The Citadel Honor Code. They also undergo inspections and drills training.

Visitors and parents are not permitted on the field during The Gauntlet, but may stay behind the roped-off areas on the perimeter of the field. Also, parents and visitors are not allowed in the barracks at any time on this day.
The Recognition Day March to Marion Square has been carried out in some fashion for more than 100 years.

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