Washington Post article on VMI


15-Year Member
Retired Moderator
Feb 2, 2008
Just had this article forwarded to me -from the November 26th Washington Post. This gentleman seems to have captured the VMI ethos perfectly.

Virginia Reveres Civil War Bravery
Cadets' Valor Lives On at VMI Museums

By John Pancake
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

..."While I crossed the ground where the cadets advanced, I thought about my Uncle Frank. He was a tall, straight, cheerful man who played tennis well into his 80s. He graduated from VMI 80 years after the famous charge at New Market. I never entirely understood why he loved VMI as much as he did. But he did. At his funeral five years ago, a VMI honor guard was on hand to carry his casket.

But why did he care so much about a place where his first year was a hellish exercise? The freshmen at VMI are called rats. They are harassed and harangued. They are barked at and belittled. They are subjected to a raft of what look, to an outsider, like silly, arbitrary rules.

Why would anybody pay to go to a place where people yell at you?

Uncle Frank, a decorated bomber pilot who never talked about his medals, would probably have said that suffering through his rat year at VMI taught him grace under pressure, taught him something about comradeship and courage.

And I think Uncle Frank would finally have gotten around to an old-fashioned idea of doing what has to be done, even when you don't feel like it
. "...

Link to the full article is below.