There is an increasingly popular trend among sports stars — they disrespect the United States and the soldiers that fought for our freedom. Virginia Tech’s basketball coach, Buzz Williams, delivered a strong message to the players on his team.
Williams gathered his team, the Hokies, together Tuesday morning. They met at the Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Center for what was supposed to be an early practice meet. Instead, he brought the team to the Virginia Tech Carilion Court at Cassell Coliseum for a morning they will not soon forget. Williams gave an extremely inspiring speech about how soldiers in the United States put their lives on hold and sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms.
The team members were not the only ones who appreciate the gesture. Marine Corps veteran, and associate AD at Virginia Tech, Sandy Smith, thanked Williams for ingraining this message into the minds of his team.
“I’d like to thank Coach Williams personally because I think he’s done an excellent job of instilling leadership and camaraderie to the student athletes. It was appreciated by everyone I spoke with today,” Smith said.
The team was standing on the court as twenty-one members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets came out, all holding individual chairs. They stood in front of the players and put down the chairs, unfolding them.
Every single chair was for a veteran. They had people from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines representing the military from World War II to the present day.
The veterans came out and sat in the seats as the Coach’s inspiring speech started. He informed the students that they did not earn a single one of the chairs there. Not by their athletic talents or by any other means.
Williams explained the chairs are there for the people who turned their lives upside down for the chance to defend our country. He went on to say that these people changed their career paths, and left their families. They, in essence, made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
The national anthem was played and sung by Isaac Barber, after careful instructions were given to the team about proper etiquette. You can see the look of respect in the eyes of his students as the anthem was performed.
After the anthem, all of the students were introduced to the veterans, who earned the chairs through their service. The students learned about their lives and how the veterans came to the conclusion that they needed to fight for their country. It was simply breathtaking.
Not long after, Coach Williams told the students that they could leave. Interestingly, not a single student left right away. They wanted to stay and talk to the heroes that fought for our country and freedoms.
This is the definition of respect, and something that we, as a nation need to see more of. Many kids in college don’t understand how much veterans sacrificed for every single one of us. These face-to-face meetings should occur in every college around the country. It would, without a doubt, change the younger generation’s view of our military, and the brave people who put on uniforms for us.