38ºF

VMI cadets appreciate firsthand stories at D-Day memorial

Cadets visited the Bedford County memorial Sunday

photo

BEDFORD, Va. – VMI cadets who made a trip Sunday to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford got to hear some firsthand accounts of World War II from veterans, and hear how VMI grads fought for America during the invasion.

They say they’re humbled and honored to experience that today. Some of their comments are below.

Catherine Berry: "Today we have the first years, or ‘rats,’ touring the memorial, escorted by World War II veterans. They’re learning about what it means to be a citizen soldier and to understand what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice on that battlefield.”

Bradley Smith: “I was just completely awestruck by it. It’s such a beautiful memorial and there’s so much going on that it’s almost sensory overload. There’s so much beauty and history behind it.”

Nathan Mumford: “Coming to D-Day as a 'rat', speaking from my own experience, was eye-opening for how much history is in not just Lexington, Virginia but across the nation. It also reminds you that the things we talk about, like in history class, that these are actual events, actual people with families and people that loved them. The amount of people and the contributions they made to the entire world, from this little place in the middle of nowhere, is what kind of shook me. That’s what I gained from the experience. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Your impacts can be felt worldwide.”

VMI sends its first-year cadets to the memorial in Bedford every year.