Ring Melt held at West Point for first time

Worn smooth, the crass mass of brass bears the scars of a long life. The
crest that once adorned the side has long since disappeared as have the
words etched around the stone.

Lying on a placard beside the name of its owner and his cadet photo, the
class ring is a testament to the life its wearer lived. Now, it is time
for the ring to begin a new journey, its worn edges melted away and the
gold used to craft rings that will carry the Class of 2020 through
their lives.

The West Point Association of Graduates hosted its annual Ring Melt
Ceremony Jan. 25 where class rings from old grads living and deceased
were donated and melted down into a gold brick that is used as part of
the gold to craft the next classes rings.

Fifty-five rings were donated this year and the gold will be used to
craft the rings for the Class of 2020, which they will receive Ring
Weekend in August.

“This ceremony was surreal,” Class of 2020 Cadet Emma Powless said. “I
really wish the whole Class of 2020 could have seen what went into it
and how it was executed. I think it is important to know what goes into
our rings and how much it means to people to have their rings go into
our classes’. I think, for the most part, people understand the meaning
of a class ring, but I think today ties it all together and you get to
see the physical representation of what is going into them.”

The ring melt has occurred every year since 2001, but this year marked
the first time it has been held at the U.S. Military Academy. The
ceremony started at Eisenhower Hall where either a representative from
the family donating the ring or someone on the family’s behalf placed
the ring into a crucible. A few ounces of legacy gold, which was
extracted from last year’s melt, was also included which ties together
each of the 18 melts that have occurred. The rings were then taken to be


Author: Dian Welle