THE LONG GRAY LINE
The phrase "The Long Gray Line" in its simplest definition is the continuum of all graduates and cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Uttered affectionately by West Point graduates, the phrase refers to the unique ties which bind every West Point Graduate to all the others who have come before, and all those who will come after. It reflects the process that all cadets here at West Point have experienced; a demanding four year period of instruction which has remained largely unchanged since its earliest days.
"The Long Gray Line" reflects the gray cadet uniforms and the bright young individuals who endure its itchy wool fabric and stiff collars because that too is part of West Point's tradition and pageantry. It is a small discomfort shared by generations of standout American leaders, two U.S. presidents, countless generals and leaders of industry, and the thousands of USMA graduates who have gone on to lead our Army's soldiers as young officers.
The motto reflects a line, a straight and unchanging path of discipline needed by an individual to follow it. At West Point, that path has always pointed to the training of Army officers to lead with character, abide by the Honor Code, and live above the common level of life in order to be leaders of the nation.
The phrase, in essence, is the Academy's motto "Duty, Honor, Country" residing in the hearts of all who pass through this hallowed institution, and who live out those words every day 'til their very last.