MEDAL OF HONOR
ETCHED INTO HISTORY: On Veteran’s Day 2017, a cadet stands in tribute at the Pylons.
More than a half-century after sacrificing his life in the ultimate act of service, Lt. Gary Lee Miller became the eighth Medal of Honor recipient whose name is etched onto the cenotaph.
THE WAR MEMORIAL PYLONS ARE one of the most iconic spots on Virginia Tech’s campus. The upper level contains Memorial Court with eight sculptured Indiana limestone pylons. The names of alumni who have died while in military service are carved on the pylons.
Centered at the back of Memorial Court is a marble cenotaph, which includes the names of alumni awarded the Medal of Honor.
Lt. Gary Lee Miller became the eighth Medal of Honor recipient whose name is etched onto the cenotaph.
On Feb. 16, 1969, Miller, a unit commander in the U.S. Army, died after smothering an enemy grenade to save the men he was leading in South Vietnam.
A former resident of Covington, Virginia, Miller’s connection to Virginia Tech wasn’t immediately realized because he never attended the university in Blacksburg, but went to Clifton Forge-Covington Community College when it was designated as a branch of Virginia Tech. Protocol for inclusion on the cenotaph requires the Medal of Honor recipient to be an alumnus, whether or not they graduated.
The connection between Miller and Virginia Tech was well known to Charlie Wood ’70, of Richmond, Virginia.
Wood first began to inquire about adding Miller’s name in 2005. In 2018, he was able to connect with Miller’s younger brother, Michael Miller ’75.
Michael Miller said he was proud that his brother would now be remembered at the War Memorial alongside other Hokies who have laid down their lives in the service of the country.
For more details about Gary Lee Miller, visit vtnews.vt.edu. TW