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Homeland security chief honors veterans at Northeastern

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke at Northeastern University's Veteran's Day event.

As an American flag was lowered to half-staff and as "Taps" echoed across a small plaza on Northeastern University's campus, young men and women in their late teens and 20s stood in their cadet uniforms and saluted.

Monday's Veteran's Day memorial ceremony at Northeastern University honored the military members who attended the college and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The names of three Huskies who died in the Korean and Vietnam wars were added to the college's memorial wall during the ceremony that was attended by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"We will never forget the sacrifices made … and that all men and women in uniform make on a daily basis," Napolitano said.

While the ceremony honored those who lost their lives to protect and free others, it also honored those who are making sacrifices while currently serving or planning to serve in the military.

The more than a dozen cadets who attended Monday's ceremony are among those in the Army ROTC Liberty Battalion.

Lt. Col. Blaise Gallahue, chair and professor of military science at Northeastern, said they represent the nation's call to arms.

"It takes a special person to serve in our nation’s military, knowing the dangers that they will face, knowing that the military is a hard life and knowing that they will be away from friends and family for extended periods of time, living in difficult conditions and knowing that they may not come home," he said.

Student Michael Trudeau, president of Northeastern's Student Veterans Organization, said the cadets and young men and women already in uniform are heroes for volunteering to protect the nation. He also called on the nation's leaders to ensure that they are taken care of when they come home.

"Today, as two wars wind down and veterans return home, our nation is faced with a mountain of serious challenges," Trudeau said. "Among these challenges is veteran unemployment, which has been hovering in the double digits for far too long. We need our leaders to come together to get our people, including our veterans, back to work."

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