As they have for 70 years, students at the U.S. Naval Academy celebrated the end of their grueling first year by scaling a 21-foot obelisk on Monday. But this time, without a lard coating on the monument, students completed the task in minutes.
For years, the Herndon Monument was slathered in the grease to make the event as challenging as possible. It often took hours for a group of first-year students, or “plebes,” to hoist a peer on their shoulders to place an officer’s hat atop the obelisk.
This year, the event drew more attention after Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the academy’s superintendent, cited “unnecessary injury risk” as a reason the school could end the yearly ritual.
UPDATE — a reader writes:
Do you think it is possible the real reason that they didn’t grease the obelisk (sounds like a double entendre) is because there may have been Muslim graduates?
And since lard is made of pig fat, contact with it would have been a big no-no to them.
If the U.S. Naval Academy has Muslim graduates, we’ve got bigger problems than lard.