Et Tu, VMI?

by Fred Ray on December 8, 2016 · 5 comments

Virginia Military Institute is now offering coloring books as part of its student “stress busters” program.

“Stress Busters is held on Reading Day of each semester,” the school said. “This is an opportunity for cadets to unwind and relax before studying for finals. This event often includes stress reduction activities such as yoga, therapy dogs, coloring book stations, card/game stations, and grab-and-go snacks to take with you on your way to study!”

Reaction from alumni was swift. “VMI once took America’s youth and prepared them for duty and the harsh realities of war,” a VMI alumnus and veteran told the Washington Free Beacon. “Now, for $20k a year, VMI will turn your teenagers back into children.”

More reactions here, and the commandant, General J. H. Binford Peay, responds.

Meanwhile Stonewall Jackson, Robert Rodes, and William Mahone all turn over in their graves, not to mention George Patton and George Marshall.

Trivia: One surprising VMI alum is … Mel Brooks. No word from him yet.

Speaking of old military institutions like VMI. When a unit participates in a battle or campaign it is given a Battle Streamer to be placed on its colors. Some of the old regular units like the First Cavalry literally have their colors covered by them. However, there are three college ROTC detachments that also rate a battle streamer, all from the Civil War. Two are fairly obvious—VMI for the battle of New Market, and The Citadel, whose cadets fired some of the first shots of the war at the siege of Fort Sumter.

What’s the third one?

UPDATE: The Confederate Museum in New Orleans was fire bombed early last month. Another one of those hate crimes you don’t hear much about—I hadn’t until I got my copy of Civil War News. I have a personal connection with this museum, which holds the battle flag of my ancestor’s regiment, the 12th Alabama.

In other news, an Army general channels the spirit of Joe Hooker, gets demoted.

And finally, if anyone out there is itching to write the Great Civil War Novel, help is at hand—the 2016 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle, and for only twenty bucks for a limited time. So stop making excuses and start writing!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Theodore Savas December 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm

One word comes to mind.

Sickening.

Reply

Josh Liller December 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm

“What’s the third one?”

Florida’s military academy students participated in the Battle of Natural Bridge in 1865. It was then Florida Military and Collegiate Institute, but is now Florida State (FSU).

Reply

Josh Liller December 8, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Given the amount of immature, juvenile behavior (pranks, hazing, alcoholism, gambling, strip clubs, vulgar “locker room talk”) that men in high stress jobs (military, police, firefighters, athletes) are infamous for doing as a form of stress relief I fail to see the problem with coloring books. Is that really so much worse that yoga or fishing (keeping in mind that for many fisherman catching a fish is the least important part of the activity)?

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Robert H Moore December 13, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Wow… pretty shallow post considering it, like the Beacon piece, doesn’t bother to consider the rest of the school year at VMI.

Incidentally, the current Rat class just made an eight-mile march with 22 lb rucks, and for having done so, raised nearly $23,000 (in about three weeks) in support of Operation “22Kill”, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness for the estimated 22 veterans who commit suicide a day as well as helping veterans in need.

So, there’s just one example of the whole “turn teenagers back into children” argument coming unglued. Instead of promoting a poor piece of journalism (and it doesn’t even warrant being called that), perhaps one should reassess the bigger picture at VMI. Dare to stack the student experience and the example of the graduates against the majority of the colleges in the nation, and then double-check that “turn in the graves” statement. Ironically, this a sad example of conservatives eating their own.

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Robert H Moore December 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm

Incidentally, the “reaction from alumni was swift” remark exaggerates the fact that the Beacon reporter supposedly got that remark from an (one) alumni… who incidentally, appears to be pretty much out of touch with the current cost of the Institute.

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