Why my son is required to wear uniform at graduation

Last summer, my son Brandon was inspired to finish high school early and attend boot camp with the Marines. He was excited and motivated by the idea that as a new Marine, he would be able to wear his military uniform for graduation. As time passed, the school told him that they do not allow this. What they did tell him is that he can wear his uniform under his cap and gown. He would march in with cap and gown over the uniform and then could march out without it on. This was very disappointing, but as the respectful man he is, he understood the policy and is/was willing to adhere to it.

As his parents, along with his many friends and family, we all feel very strongly that this is an accomplishment that should be honored and acknowledged at the High School graduation. This could inspire others that if they work hard enough they too can achieve their dreams and stand for something important even while still in high school. Your future starts as early as you want it to. Brandon is making the ultimate sacrifice by being willing to die for his country and fellow citizens. The choice of serving our country no longer seems to carry the value it used to. Where is our support for those that fight for us? For those who put their lives on the line for us so that we can have the freedom and rights we enjoy each day. Not supporting this achievement in the proper way (see Marine Code below) is a disgrace to our country and what America is all about.

Brandon is not looking for attention and actually has no idea of the controversy that is going on at the moment. I spoke with him about this before he left for boot camp and let him know I would meet with ConVal Principal Brian Pickering to see if we can have the policy changed. My son has no idea how far this has gone. It is from the support of family and friends who feel outraged by this that this has become a bigger deal than we intended. The bottom line is, do we support our military or not? Should they be honored in such a way that is exceptional from all else? In the Garabrant household (and it seems many others) the answer is yes!

According to the Permanent Marine Corps Uniform Board (PMCUB), “No part of a prescribed uniform, except those items not exclusively military in character, will be worn with civilian clothing.” According to these rules, this new Marine is forbidden from wearing that “Cap and Gown” over his uniform.

Additionally, the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations regulates attire for certain occasions. According to the regulations, “1. The blue dress “A” uniform is prescribed for parades, ceremonies and formal or semiformal social functions. The blue or blue-white dress “A” uniform, as appropriate, will be prescribed for the following official military/social occasions: a. Parades, ceremonies, reviews, solemnities, and entertainments when the commander/senior officer present desires to pay special honors to the occasion; d. At daytime formal or semiformal occasions.

“2. The dress “B” uniforms consist of the same items as the corresponding dress “A” uniforms, except that ribbons are worn in lieu of medals. Shooting badges may be prescribed. The blue dress “B” uniform is prescribed for parades, ceremonies, informal social functions, and as the uniform of the day. The blue or blue-white dress “B” uniform ,may also be prescribed for parades, ceremonies, reviews, and at other such solemnities or entertainments as determined by the commander.”

Judging by these regulations, this new Marine is required to wear is dress A or B uniform for this event. To participate in this event without his dress uniform is a violation of the USMC Code of Conduct.

Jessie Garabrant of Greenfield is the mother of Brandon Garabrant, who is graduating basic training on Friday and will return to walk with fellow ConVal High graduates on Saturday.

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