It was Thanksgiving Day, 1965, 46 years ago. It seems so very long ago now. I was a Virginia Tech freshman in the Corps of Cadets. It was my first Thanksgiving 900 miles away from home, family and my high school girl friend. Early that morning I boarded a bus with the Corps and we traveled to the train station in Roanoke. A few hours later, we marched from there on Jefferson Street to Victory Stadium for the annual Thanksgiving game against VMI. I was unable to find a photograph or video, but I found a video from an earlier time.

After the game I went to the Roanoke Airport (Woodrum Field) and boarded a prop plane on Piedmont Airlines. I remember we landed twice in West Virginia and then finally landed in Cincinnati. I switched airlines to a Delta Airlines and ultimately landed in Chicago close to midnight.

My first Thanksgiving away from home was a long, long day.

My visit with my family and girl friend was far too short for a guy who was homesick. On Sunday morning my dad told me it was time to go back to the airport. I told him I wasn’t going back to Virginia Tech. Instead, I planned to transfer to Elmhurst College, where I could play football. I never saw my father so upset with me. He grabbed me with two hands and told me in no uncertain terms that I was going back to Blacksburg. I went back that Sunday, graduated in 1969, and the rest is history.