At Northeastern’s annual Vet­erans Day Cer­e­mony, keynote speaker Col. Richard F. Johnson com­mended the uni­ver­sity for its sup­port of vet­erans and said North­eastern is in a great posi­tion to help active duty mil­i­tary per­sonnel tran­si­tion back to civilian life.

As more of the newest gen­er­a­tion of vet­erans return home, Johnson, com­mander of the Mass­a­chu­setts Army National Guard’s 26th Maneuver Enhance­ment Brigade, said it’s impor­tant to let vet­erans put the skills they learned from the mil­i­tary to work. He high­lighted Northeastern’s expe­ri­en­tial learning model as a way to propel young vet­erans into the work force and public ser­vice where they can make an imme­diate impact.

Our returning vet­erans deserve the oppor­tu­nity to re-​​integrate back into civilian life with as little dif­fi­culty as pos­sible,” Johnson said. “They need the oppor­tu­nity to apply the skills, knowl­edge and lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence they gained during their time in the military.”

  • Barbara Killough, granddaughter of U.S. Army veteran and 1914 alumni Benjamin William Fuller, receives a memorial plaque in Fuller's honor. Fuller was one of two alumni veterans whose names were added to the Veterans Memorial wall.

  • Dress hats from different branches of the Armed Forces rest on top of a coat rack prior to a Veterans Day candlelight vigil in the Raytheon Amphitheater.

  • Members of the Northeastern University veterans community lit candles in honor of those who lost their lives in past conflicts during a candlelight vigil in the Raytheon Amphitheater.

  • Fall leaves surround the Northeastern University Veterans Memorial before the ceremony.

  • A standing crowd filled the Neal F. Finnegan Plaza.

  • A Northeastern University ROTC cadet stands at attention at the Veterans Memorial.

  • The 26th Infantry Division Band performs before the ceremony.

  • Liberty Battalion ROTC cadets stand at attention during the ceremony.

  • Colonel Richard F. Johnson, Commander of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, speaks at the ceremony.

  • From left, Army LTC Blaise Gallahue, chair and professor of military science, Student Veterans Organization President Adam Beatty, Colonel Richard F. Johnson, Commander of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, and Neal Finnegan, BA'61, H'98, Chairman Emeritus of the Northeastern University Board of Trustees, at the ceremony.

  • From left, Cadet Cpl. Virginia Thomas and Cadet Sgt. John Arnott, both third-year students, stand at attention after placing a wreath honoring alumni veterans who lost their lives during World War I on the Veterans Memorial Wall.

  • From left, Cadet Cpl. Jessica Johnson, a third-year student, and Cadet Cpl. MacKenzie Ung, a fourth-year student, salute after placing a wreath honoring alumni veterans who lost their lives during the Korean Conflict on the Veterans Memorial Wall.

At Monday’s cer­e­mony, mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity gath­ered at the university’s Vet­erans Memo­rial, which is located next to the Egan Research Center. The memo­rial, which was ded­i­cated seven years ago, bears the names of the 289 men and women from North­eastern who gave their lives serving in the military.

Two names were recently added to the wall: World War I vet­eran Ben­jamin William Fuller, Class of 1914, and Vietnam vet­eran William Thomas Cloney, Class of 1969. Mem­bers of both men’s fam­i­lies were at the cer­e­mony and received replicas of the plaques that will go on the wall.

Memo­ri­al­iza­tion mat­ters,” Neal F. Finnegan, chairman emer­itus of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees, said in his remarks during the cer­e­mony. “We are obliged as a grateful nation to remember.”

Ear­lier in the day, the North­eastern ROTC Alumni Society also held a remem­brance cer­e­mony in the Raytheon Amphithe­ater in Egan, where the names listed on the Vet­erans Memo­rial were read aloud.

Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to edu­cating its cit­i­zens and its vet­erans mat­ters to America,” Donald Gourley, pres­i­dent of the ROTC Alumni Society, said during the remem­brance cer­e­mony. “Let us use today to rec­og­nize those who fought for us, those we fought along side and what was fought for.”

Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to vet­erans and mil­i­tary per­sonnel extends back to 1950, when the ROTC pro­gram on campus began. 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 other schools in the Boston area. About 4,000 alumni who enrolled in ROTC have been com­mis­sioned into the U.S. Army and in other services.

North­eastern has also embraced secu­rity research and made it a top research pri­ority, in addi­tion to health and sus­tain­ability. North­eastern is home to the Depart­ment of Home­land Security-​​​​funded Center for Aware­ness and Local­iza­tion of Explosives-​​​​Related Threats (ALERT) and the George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity. North­eastern was also des­ig­nated a National Center of Aca­d­emic Excel­lence in Cyber Oper­a­tions by the National Secu­rity Agency.

The Stu­dent Vet­erans Orga­ni­za­tion, founded in 2010, is a sup­port net­work and voice for the more than 100 stu­dent vet­erans on campus. Last year, the orga­ni­za­tion raised more than $30,000 for PSTD and TBI research. Johnson con­grat­u­lated the SVO for being named the 2013 Chapter of the Year by the Stu­dent Vet­erans of America.

On Vet­erans Day it is impor­tant to remember that the men and women who fought in America’s wars are not vic­tims,” said Adam Beatty, a North­eastern busi­ness stu­dent and pres­i­dent of the SVO, who spoke Monday. “They are reg­ular Amer­i­cans who stepped up to take posi­tion between their country and its ene­mies. Let’s make sure we give vet­erans all the sup­port they need.”

During Monday’s cer­e­mony, ROTC cadets 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. Johnson and Lt. Col. Blaise Gal­lahue, chair and pro­fessor of Mil­i­tary Sci­ence at North­eastern, laid the final wreath in recog­ni­tion of Oper­a­tion Enduring Freedom.

Today, we honor those who gave the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice in the name of freedom,” Gal­lahue said during his remarks. “They all took an oath to sup­port and defend the con­sti­tu­tion of the United States. Let us never forget the sac­ri­fices of these fallen heroes and of their families.”