Dress Code & Etiquette

Dress Code for a Graduation

Your Soldier will more than likely be in his or her Dress Blue uniform – which is the Army equivalent to a suit and tie. You as a guest at the graduation do not need to be in a formal outfit, but you will want to look nice, so as not to embarrass your Soldier. Something business casual, or your ‘Sunday Best’ is appropriate.

Do be aware, though, that if the graduation takes place during the warmer months in the year, it will most likely be outside, and you will most likely be sitting in a set of metal bleachers. It is not recommended to wear white bottoms.

Finally, be conscious of your footwear choices. No one can guarantee the conditions of the field where your Soldier will be graduating and heels may be hard to walk in if conditions are not at their best.


What’s Expected of Graduation Attendees

Every ceremony will have protocols that are standard. Typically, there will be a Master of Ceremonies (MC) that will keep you informed of the next portion of the ceremony. If you cannot hear him or her, and see other people all doing the same thing (such as standing and turning), it’s best to follow suit.

Some typical things that will happen at a military ceremony that you’re expected to pay attention to and take part in as necessary are:

  • Standing during the National Anthem and Army Song, and turning toward the flag
  • Bowing your head or staying quiet during the invocation
  • Remarks from the Commander to the families and Soldiers
  • Keeping children and others quiet during these times

What NOT to bring to a Military Graduation

  • Airhorns, Whistles or any Noise-Makers in general
  • Silly String or Confetti
  • Firearms or Weapons
  • Fireworks
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes (except in designated areas – not during the ceremony)

What TO bring to a Military Graduation

  • Camera – you may want to invest in a longer lens, though, as typically you won’t be very close to the Soldiers as they make their movements. Don’t expect a lot of room for a tripod though.
  • Binoculars – all the Soldiers will be dressed the same and it may be hard to find yours in the crowd.
  • Umbrella or a hat for hot days. Be respectful of other family members watching the ceremony.
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks and small, quiet toys for children to play with to try and keep them from screaming and running around during the ceremony
  • Cash – any vendors that are selling t-shirts, hats, DVDs or other souvenir like items at the ceremony will most likely not accept credit/debit cards
  • Respect, Support and Love for your Soldier and his or her big accomplishment!
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