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Northwestern Pays Tribute to Veterans

NROTC Unit hosts annual ceremony to honor those who served our nation

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November 8, 2013 | by Erin White

EVANSTON, Ill. --- In honor of Veterans Day, a wreath, dedicated to those who’ve served our nation, past and present, was laid on a memorial rock near Northwestern University’s library by members of Northwestern’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program.

NROTC members hope the wreath and the memorial rock -- which is topped with a plaque that lists names of NROTC alumni who died in World War II and the Vietnam War -- may catch the eyes of those passing by the library this Veterans Day.

“Normally we just have the wreath up on Veterans Day, but this year we decided to keep it up for a week,” said David Locker, a Northwestern senior and member of the NROTC unit. “Hopefully it will garner a little more interest, and people will walk by and think more about what the day actually means.”

Americans celebrate Veterans Day across the country Monday Nov. 11 to give thanks and show gratitude for the service men and women who who have defended America. Ceremonies include parades and military exhibits as well as tributes to distinguished veterans.

The Northwestern University Veterans Association (NUVA) is encouraging veterans who are students here on campus or their family members to let the NUVA know they are here. In a show of support, many Chicago area shops and businesses are offering discounts for veterans on Nov. 11 and afterward, as well.

This year’s Veterans Day ceremony was especially meaningful to Locker because he is a step closer to joining the brave men and women who have served our country. He will finish out his Northwestern NROTC career after graduation this December and will start naval flight officer training early next year, joining hundreds of Northwestern NROTC alumni who came before him.

Established in 1926, Northwestern’s NROTC unit was one of the first six campus units in the country. The Marine Corps entered the NROTC program in 1932, commissioning NROTC graduates in the U.S. Marine Corps. Since its inception, the Northwestern Battalion has commissioned more than 2,300 Navy and Marine Corps officers with some graduates of the program currently fighting overseas.

Besides the NROTC alumni memorial rock, other areas of campus also serve to remember fallen Wildcats. Etched on a plaque in the lobby of Alice Millar Chapel are all the known names of these brave students who have given their lives while serving the United States. Dedicated in November of 2007, it is Northwestern's official war memorial.

A boulder on the north end of campus holds a plaque honoring students who died in the Civil War and World War I. On a boulder south of Harris Hall, a plaque is dedicated to David Hansen, class of 1923, who died in WWI caring for a wounded friend. Finally, the banners in Alice Millar Chapel are named for alumnus William Heep, a Navy pilot who died during the war in Vietnam.