BLACKSBURG, Va. --
It was a clear day when thousands of people pulled onto the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The immense tension on the roads could be felt as fans were steered around campus in their cars, desperate to find a parking space in time for the game. Crowds swarmed the stadium, waiting for the gates to open as the Virginia Tech Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets marched in the streets, singing cadences while the bands played their tunes.
Upon entering the stadium, a blanket of maroon, orange and white, made up by spiritwear worn by screaming fans, encircled the massive football field in the stands. Fans roared with pride as cheerleaders swept through the field with their flags and signs that read “VT” and “Go Hokies!” In the endzone, a cannon exploded signifying the event to begin.
Many fans were in for a treat at the Virginia Tech versus Old Dominion University football game on September 23, 2017. In honor of their “Military Appreciation Day”, Virginia Tech invited the 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard, to showcase and demonstrate their mission as a component of the United States Air Force. Upon playing the National Anthem, the 192nd FW swept fans away as two F-22 Raptors soared across the stadium.
In addition to the flyover demonstration, several members from the 203rd Red Horse Squadron were honored for their efforts in a recent deployment overseas. These honorees stood in the middle of the field, in front of more than 60,000 people, to be recognized for their great achievement.
“It was absolutely amazing to be brought onto the field,” said Master Sgt. Christina Dean, 203rd RHS non-commissioned officer in charge of personnel, whom was one of the honorees. “Going in front of 66,000 people [to be honored] was an awesome feeling.”
Through the excitement of the football game, Virginia Tech hosted many additional features in honor of “Military Appreciation Day”. These included a recruiting event with the 192nd FW recruiters, a recognition of the VT ROTC cadets, and a special musical arrangement performed by the VT and ODU marching bands.
“It truly was an awesome feeling to see our community [supporting us today]... to see, not only 66,000 people, but my state and my nation saying thank you to us for the things that we do and the sacrifices we make,” said Dean
Overall, the game was an overwhelming victory for many VT Hokie fans as they proudly showed their support for the U.S. military. Fans left the stadium with joy and pride for their country as well as their team, who ultimately secured the win against the ODU Monarchs with a score of 38-0.