Naval Academy students cap Herndon Monument

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The U.S. Naval Academy's plebe class has capped the Herndon Monument.

About 1,000 first-year students took part in this annual tradition Monday afternoon.

Chris Bianchi, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, capped the 21-foot obelisk slathered with vegetable shortening with a midshipmen's hat. It was done in one hour, 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students formed a human pyramid to help classmates climb the slippery monument. They removed the hat known as the "dixie cup" from the top of the monument and replaced it with a midshipmen's hat, marking the end of the plebe year.

Plebes began climbing the monument in 1940. The placement of the cap started seven years later. In 1949, upperclassmen began smearing lard on the monument to make the climb more challenging.

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