For the seventh consecutive year the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ first-year cadets will travel to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Cadet Capt. David Neverman of Murrieta, Calif., a senior majoring in history and pursuing a minor in religion from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences as well as a minor in leadership studies from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Rice Center for Leader Development, who is serving as the cadet-in-charge, shares his thoughts on the trip, "I remember my bud class's trip to the National D-Day Memorial as one of the highlights of freshmen year. The memorial itself was amazing. The memorial's creative design and the attention given to the historical details of the landings at Normandy drove home the reality of that operation. 

"I remember the guides sharing their information at each unique part of the memorial, especially the Marine who was stationed on a Navy ship during the landings. The entire time I was there I felt a great sense of honor and humility as I realized the gravity of the sacrifice of the men on the beaches that day, truly reminding us all that freedom is never free.

"For each freshmen class I now see that this trip holds its relevance as a tradition, a training opportunity, and more importantly an eye-opening reminder for many of the cadets of the commitment they are making as future officers in our nation's military. Overall, it has been exciting and rewarding to be a part of the planning process for the Class of 2017, and I look forward to the upcoming trip," he said.

The bonds, post past and present, between the memorial and Virginia Tech are strong.

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 Marshall game on Sept. 21, also Military Appreciation Day. Cadets will be collecting at all gates prior to kickoff. 

The Corps of Cadets has collected over $195,000 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 and by Madeira’s senior year it had developed into a corps-wide annual service project.

Twenty Virginia Tech alumni made the ultimate sacrifice 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.

This motivational trip truly 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.

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.