You know that spring is on its way when the cadets at VMI renew the tradition of the Full Dress Cadet Parade on the parade grounds. Most Fridays in February and April, you can see them strut their stuff on post! Witness the drama and precision of the cadets marching in formation and to music of the VMI Regimental Band and Pipe Band.
VMI is the oldest state-supported military college in the nation. The military academy was created on the site of the Lexington arsenal in 1836. The cadets at the school may be called into action by the governor of Virginia. During the Civil War, the cadets were called to action 14 times and they still carry on a tradition of honoring their cadet brothers who fell at the Battle of New Market in 1864.
Living conditions at VMI are more austere than at the other service academies. All cadets are enrolled in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and can accept commissions in any of the US Armed services. They also may pursue civilian careers upon graduation. The school has high academic standards and includes studies in engineering, liberal arts, humanities and the sciences.
Some notable VMI alumni include George Marshall, George Patton, Frank McCarthy, Robert Q. Marston, Bobby Thomason, Jonathan Myrick Daniels, and Fred Willard. All of these distinguished alumni marched in the Full Dress Cadet Parade when they were VMI students.
Visit VMI the next time you stay at our B&B. The VMI Museum is located in Jackson Memorial Hall (named for “Stonewall” Jackson – once a professor at VMI). The Virginia Museum of the Civil War is the place to begin an exploration of the New Market battlefield where you can earn how cadets from VMI made a difference in battle. In downtown Lexington, visit the Stonewall Jackson House where the emphasis is on his influence as a church leader, professor, businessman, husband, and community leader prior to the civil war. Don’t miss the Full Dress Cadet Parade most Friday afternoons starting at 4:35PM.