First-year cadets to visit National D-Day Memorial
The bonds, both past and present, between Virginia Tech, the Corps of Cadets, and the D-Day Memorial are strong and continue to grow each year as another group of cadets visit.
Cadet Ameilia Daniels of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in international studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences who is a member of Air Force ROTC explains the impact of the trip, "The D-Day Memorial trip was so special because it removed us from the fast paced nature of corps life to remind us of the heroism of so many great people and to remind us why we want to serve."
For each cadet class this trip has truly become a tradition while also a training opportunity. However, as Daniels described more importantly it is an eye-opening reminder for many of the cadets of the commitment they are making to the corps and as future officers in our nation's military.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets continues its support of the National D-Day Memorial with its annual collection at Corps Homecoming, which will be held this year in conjunction with the Furman game on Sept. 12, also Military Appreciation Day. Cadets will be collecting at all gates prior to kickoff.
The Corps of Cadets has collected over $202,000 for the memorial and is the largest, non-corporate sponsor of the D-Day memorial. The corps recognizes and is thankful for the support of all Hokies during this annual collection.
The Corps of Cadets started supporting the memorial in 2001 when then Cadet Anthony Madeira, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering in 2005, read that the memorial was facing bankruptcy and felt someone needed to step up and help. Madeira started the effort as a company service project and his company raised $6,000 the first year and $10,000 the next year. By Madeira’s senior year it had developed into a corps-wide annual service project.
This motivational trip allows the newest cadets to learn about the special relationship between Virginia Tech and the Bedford memorial as well as the history and remarkable people the memorial represents.
Twenty Virginia Tech alumni died on the beaches of Normandy and the surrounding area on June 6, 1944, and the weeks immediately afterwards. Eight alumni died on the beaches on the first day of the invasion, including alumnus 1st Lt. Jimmie Monteith, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions in securing a position on Omaha Beach. Monteith served in the corps of cadets as a member of the Class of 1941 in K Company. He led his troops on D-Day on Omaha Beach and repeatedly organized numerous assaults against the enemy despite heavy fire. Monteith was killed in action and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Virginia Tech's Monteith Hall is named after him and houses part of the 3rd Battalion of the corps, which includes Kilo Battery the unit Monteith belonged to as a cadet. A commemorative plaque now hangs at the D-Day Memorial recognizing these 20 alumni of Virginia Tech.
The trip would not be possible without the generosity of now deceased Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets alumnus Raymond Reed, Class of 1957, and his wife Peggy who understood the importance of today’s cadets learning about those who have gone before them. Peggy Reed continues to make the trip a reality by funding the transportation and meal costs while the memorial grants the cadets free admission.