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Veterans Memorial honors students, alumni who ‘interrupted their lives to serve as citizen soldiers’

Northeastern's Veterans Memorial commemorates more than 400 students and alumni who have given their lives in service of our country. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Northeastern’s Veterans Memorial—located at the intersection of Forsyth Street and Centennial Common—is one of the university’s most sacred landmarks.

Dedicated on Veterans Day in 2006, the memorial commemorates more than 400 students and alumni who have given their lives in service of our country.

Neal Finnegan, DMSB’61, H’98, chair emeritus of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees, led the effort to build the memorial. “We wanted to honor and thank all those who interrupted their lives and their educations to serve as citizen soldiers,” he explained at Northeastern’s 2016 Veterans Day ceremony. “From as far back as World War I,” he said, members of the university community “have been faithfully answering the call of duty.”

The front of the memorial—which faces Centennial Walkway, a popular path for students, faculty, and staff headed to Snell Library or Curry Student Center—is a common spot for ceremonial events.

The rear of the memorial—a private and reflective space in a garden—features more than 400 stainless steel plates representing the dog tags worn by soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The rear of the memorial—a private and reflective space in a garden—features more than 400 stainless steel plates representing the dog tags worn by soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Each dog tag includes an individual soldier’s name, rank, hometown, birth date, death date, college affiliation, and graduation year. The plates are organized by year of death, beginning with the opening of Northeastern in 1898 and continuing to the present.

In keeping with Northeastern’s commitment to ensuring the accuracy of the Veterans Memorial, the university will acknowledge the addition of another soldier at Friday’s Veterans Day ceremony. Joseph Eugene Daley—whose connection to Northeastern was discovered by members of the university’s ROTC Alumni Society—was enrolled in the School of Law before leaving to join the Army during World War I. He died in Zweilbrucken, Germany, on Oct. 19, 1918 after being taken as a Prisoner of War by German troops.

At Northeastern’s 2015 Veterans Day ceremony, Finnegan extolled the virtues of those in the university community who have served their country. “Service to the nation is deeply embedded as a Northeastern value,” he said.