Bedford, VA - A group of Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets hit the road Saturday, making their annual trip to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
This is the sixth year for the event, and it's a trip all first-year cadets take. The trip is showing the cadets that freedom comes with a cost.
Adjusting to life in uniform isn't something that happens overnight, but these first year Cadets are confident in their choice.
"Moving forward with a military career, you need to look back on the successes and failures of all who have come before you," said cadet Joseph Taylor.
That includes a lesson on the most widespread war in human history, nd one of the bloodiest battles the world would ever witness on June 6, 1944.
"The fact that there were more deaths in that one day than the Revolutionary War is pretty astounding to me," said cadet Kiara Davis.
The 421 first year Cadets had one task: to learn about war from the monuments.
"They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, but I think that a monument is practically priceless," said Maj. Gen. Randal D. Fullhart, Commandant of Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.
And WWII veterans like Daniel Villarial are also teaching the cadets a lesson.
"The rifle with the helmet on the buck plate, represents either a dead soldier or a wounded soldier," said Villarial.
"Knowing exactly that there were German fighters, just shooting down as
they were trying to get up, facts like that are just mind-blowing," said Davis.
Some of these men and women will face similar struggles one day. And when that day comes their teachers hope they'll keep today's lesson in mind.
"That they serve proudly and serve their country with distinction knowing that they will be the next securers of our freedom," said Villarial.The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets are also raising money for the D-Day Memorial. This year they'll be taking donations at the game against Bowling Green on Sept. 22nd. To date, they've already collected $190,000.