At a Vet­erans Day Cer­e­mony at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity on Monday, U.S. Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­rity Janet Napoli­tano called on all Amer­i­cans to rec­og­nize the vet­erans who have served their nation. In recent weeks, the sec­re­tary said, U.S. veterans—as well as national guardsmen and fed­eral officials—have also made their pres­ence felt on Amer­ican soil in response to Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

Napoli­tano said she has been deeply moved by the effort. Vet­erans, she said, have rushed to hand out meals to fam­i­lies in need, mem­bers of the coast guard have make hun­dreds of rooftop res­cues and Depart­ment of Defense offi­cials have flown in utility crews to impacted areas.

We saw vet­erans in action,” Napoli­tano said. “We see it in person every day.”

It is in that spirit of sac­ri­fice, Napoli­tano said, that vet­erans from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and across the country should be hon­ored on Vet­erans Day.

  • President Joseph E. Aoun and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano lay a wreath in honor of veterans who lost their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom.

  • Northeastern University observes Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial on campus.

  • ROTC Alpha Company Cadet Corporal Virginia Thomas, a sophomore, salutes the flag during the playing of the National Anthem.

  • From left, Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Stephen W. Director, look on during the playing of the National Anthem.

  • ROTC cadets stand at attention during Veterans Day observances.

  • Peggy Turman, widow of Alfred L. Tripp, U.S. Marine Corp. and Class of 1963, examines the new dog tag in her husband's honor at the Veterans Memorial on campus.

  • LTC Blaise Gallahue, chair and professor of military science at Northeastern, speaks during the Veterans Day ceremony.

  • Kendra Remian (left), the great niece of Francis "Frank" W. Curtin, U.S. Army and Class of 1936, receives a dog tag in his honor from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (second from right) and President Joseph E. Aoun (right). Second from left is John "Dick" Power, BA'63.

  • ROTC cadets prepare to lay a wreath in front of the Veterans Memorial Wall in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.

  • U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with members of the Northeastern ROTC Liberty Battalion.

  • President Joseph E. Aoun (left) and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (center) listen to electrical and computer engineering professor Carey Rappaport, (right) as he explains a millimeter-wave scanning device at Northeastern's Department of Homeland Security ALERT Center of Excellence. Rappaport is the center's deputy director.

At the cer­e­mony, mem­bers of the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity came together to honor those vet­erans at the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Vet­erans Memo­rial, which is located adja­cent to the Egan Research Center on Neal F. Finnegan Plaza. The memo­rial, which was ded­i­cated six years ago, bears the names of those men and women from North­eastern who have given their lives serving America.

In his remarks, Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun praised the university’s stu­dent vet­erans, whom he called “real leaders in our com­mu­nity.” He also sin­gled out one of Northeastern’s ROTC cadets, Patrick Lupfer, who was recently ranked No. 1 out of 5,579 senior cadets on the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s National Order of Merit List.

We are very proud of our tra­di­tions,” Aoun said, noting Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to vet­erans. He also rec­og­nized the more than 4,000 alumni who enrolled in ROTC and have been com­mis­sioned into the U.S. Army and in other services.

Aoun noted that higher edu­ca­tion has tra­di­tion­ally been wary of pur­suing secu­rity research, but added that North­eastern has embraced this approach, making secu­rity one the university’s top research themes along with health and sus­tain­ability. This has led to the cre­ation of the university’s DHS-​​funded Center for Aware­ness and Local­iza­tion of Explosives-​​Related Threats (ALERT) and the George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity. North­eastern has also been des­ig­nated by the NSA as a National Center of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence in Cyber Oper­a­tions.

Ear­lier this year, Aoun was named to a new aca­d­emic advi­sory council that reports directly to Napoli­tano and exam­ines how uni­ver­si­ties can con­tribute to America’s national secu­rity efforts.

Michael Trudeau, ’13, pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion, served as the event’s master of cer­e­monies. In opening remarks, he noted that vet­erans are always ready to heed the call of duty, a trait that makes them great job can­di­dates at home and fix­tures in their com­mu­ni­ties through ser­vice and many other ways.

Trudeau said that most of the nation’s newest vet­erans were in high school when the ter­rorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people.

Many put their indi­vidual lives on hold to pro­tect the Amer­ican people to secure our home­land. How­ever, what sets this gen­er­a­tion apart is that we are an all vol­un­teer force,” Trudeau said. “While it’s still too early to spec­u­late how his­tory will per­ceive us, one thing is cer­tain: If there’s a job that needs to be done, or if there is someone in need, a vet­eran will always ask, ‘How can I help?’”

Lt. Col. Blaise Gal­lahue, chair and pro­fessor of mil­i­tary sci­ence who joined North­eastern in August, noted the more than 21 mil­lion living vet­erans in the United States who served since World War I and the 1.4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans cur­rently serving on active duty. He called Vet­erans Day a great tribute to them for their extra­or­di­nary efforts to defend their fellow cit­i­zens’ lib­er­ties, the Con­sti­tu­tion and their country.

They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human his­tory. Our country is for­ever indebted to our vet­erans for their exem­plary ser­vice and quiet courage,” Gal­lahue said. “We remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom’s defense. These brave men and women made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice for our ben­efit. On Vet­erans Day, we remember those heroes for their valor, their loy­alty and their dedication.”

Later in the cer­e­mony, Aoun and Napoli­tano joined John R. Power Jr., BA’63, a long­time member of the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity ROTC Alumni Society who served 30 years in the U.S. Army, in rec­og­nizing three fallen vet­erans whose names were added to the university’s Vet­erans Memo­rial this year: Francis (Frank) W. Cur­tain, U.S. Army, Class of 1936; Robert Louis Curry, U.S. Marine Corps, Class of 1967; and Alfred Leonard Tripp, U.S. Marine Corps, Class of 1963. Their names were uncov­ered thanks to the research efforts of the ROTC Alumni Society.

To the fam­i­lies of those vet­erans present at the cer­e­mony, Napoli­tano said, “We will never forget the sac­ri­fices made by your loved ones, and that all of our men and women in uni­form make on a daily basis.”

ROTC cadets also laid wreaths in front of the Vet­erans Memo­rial to honor those who died in each of the country’s mil­i­tary con­flicts since World War I. Aoun and Napoli­tano laid the wreath in recog­ni­tion of the latest con­flict, Oper­a­tion Enduring Freedom.

Ear­lier in the day, the North­eastern ROTC Alumni Society and the Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion held another remem­brance cer­e­mony in the Raytheon Amphithe­ater in the Egan Research Center, where the names listed on Northeastern’s Vet­erans Memo­rial were read aloud.

The uni­ver­sity has hosted an ROTC pro­gram on campus since 1950 and at one time it was one of the largest com­pletely vol­un­teer ROTC units in the country with about 2,800 cadets. The cur­rent ROTC for­ma­tion, Lib­erty Bat­talion, includes cadets from sev­eral schools in the Boston area.

As part of her visit to campus, Napoli­tano also met with Aoun, uni­ver­sity lead­er­ship and fac­ulty to dis­cuss Northeastern’s secu­rity research pro­file and tour the ALERT Center, where researchers are devel­oping state-​​of-​​the-​​art secu­rity tech­nolo­gies in areas such as explo­sives detec­tion and air­port security.