In an article published on June 7 in myfoxboston.com, a ConVal Regional High School senior and a future Marine, Brandon Garabrant, was prohibited from wearing his Marine uniform in his Peterborough, New Hampshire high school graduation in lieu of a graduation gown. Garabrant’s request and the principal’s decision had drawn different reactions from students and their community.

At the time of the graduation, Garabrant was also completing military boot camp from which he received his title and distinction as a United States Marine. He requested to wear his military uniform at the graduation ceremony, but was told to wear it underneath the cap and gown prescribed for the school’s commencement exercises. His mother thought it was disgraceful to cover up the uniform when he had earned the right to wear it. The Marine Corps take pride in wearing their US military clothing; but in this case, the decision was left to a school committee that included community members associated with the military.

Principal Brian Pickering, along with his graduation committee, decided that it would be more appropriate to insist on uniformity at the graduation ceremony. In trying to be fair, Principal Pickering appointed for his committee a military wife, a retired Army Special Forces officer, and a retired Marine so that he could obtain a military perspective to the issue. While he remains firm about his decision as it stands, he said he will not hesitate to reverse his stance if the committee changes its ruling.

It’s understandable how armed forces personnel wish to wear their military uniforms whenever appropriate. These uniforms are bestowed to instill pride in their branch of service and duties to the nation. In this New Hampshire case, as one committee member who happens to have three sons in military service puts it, the occasion rather calls for a collective celebration of the Class of 2013, and thus, a cap and gown would have been more fitting.

The Marine Corps Combat utility uniform or cammies are worn by the Marines in garrison, in training, or when deployed overseas. The Marine Corps dress blue uniform, however, is the most recognizable, and worn during more formal occasions, the most formal being the dress blue alpha, designed with a long-sleeved midnight blue coat and choker collar, with white belt. Medals are worn on the left chest, and ribbon awards on the right.

US military uniforms and accessories available in military superstores, such as Special Forces Gear, are crafted to meet the informal demands of everyday circumstances, and the rigors of combat. US servicemen wear the khaki brown or green camouflage for daily duties, and the more colored galas for official functions. Of the US military uniforms, the dress blues of the Marines have had the least changes from their original 19th century design. The one tradition that the Marine Corps preserved on their uniform is the red stripe running down their trouser legs, which they call the “blood stripe”.

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