One of the most picturesque and iconic places on Virginia Tech’s campus is the Pylons above War Memorial Chapel.
The Pylons represent eight of Virginia Tech’s core values (from left to right): Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty and Ut Prosim. Engraved in the Pylons are all of the names of Virginia Tech students and graduates who died while defending our nation’s freedom since World War I. This sums up to be about 400+ individuals with each individual engraved into a specific Pylon. In the center of the War Memorial is the cenotaph that displays the names of Virginia Tech’s seven Medal of Honor recipients. Out of respect, Virginia Tech asks individuals not to sit on or touch the cenotaph.
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets conduct the Pylon Dedication Ceremony on Drillfield Drive and Alumni Mall when a new name is added to the Pylons. The Gregory Guard, the Corps’ rifle team, salute by firing three volleys. The Corps’ marching band, the Highty Tighties, perform alongside the Color Guard. A bugler plays the song, “Echo Taps.”
There were many requests from Virginia Tech alumni during World War II to have a memorial dedicated to Hokies who lost their lives while serving our country. By 1945, architect Roy F. Larson was selected to construct the memorial by the Memorial Committee. While constructing this project, the goal was to have the memorial near the center of campus and near the marching grounds where the deceased soldiers had their early military training.
Donald DeLue of New York City; Henry Kreis of Essex, Connecticut; and Charles Rudy of Ottsville, Pennsylvania, were in charge of designing symbolic representations above and inside the Chapel. Henry Kreis designed the four pylons: Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership and Sacrifice. Charles Rudy designed the four pylons: Service, Loyalty, Duty and Ut Prosim. Over the course of 15 years, funding for the memorial project came from volunteers and Virginia Tech alumni. The Pylons and War Memorial was constructed from the spring of 1951 to May of 1960.
Overlooking the Drillfield, the War Memorial is the perfect place to view all of Virginia Tech’s campus. Many people sit here to watch the yearly Ring Reveal fireworks that go off each autumn for the current junior class. War Memorial Chapel below the Pylons is a popular place for church services and wedding ceremonies. From sunrise to sunset, students take a break from their hectic schedules to enjoy the calm composure of the Pylons and remind themselves of the core values of a Hokie.