Good morning. I am honored to be part of today’s Veterans Day observance. Today we honor and celebrate America’s veterans for their patriotism, service, and sacrifice on behalf of our nation and the common good.

Many of you in this room are veterans and I want to thank you for protecting the freedoms that we all enjoy. It’s my distinct honor to share this room with you today.

Earlier this week I sent an email to the campus community acknowledging the significance of Veterans Day to CU Boulder. I highlighted the fact that hundreds of veterans walk among us on this campus every day.

Consequently, I would like to first address the veterans who work and study here at CU.

 As a community we must recognize the contributions you make as you conduct research in our laboratories, learn and teach in our classrooms, maintain our facilities and prepare our meals.

Veterans promote the success of our students in multiple ways, excel in the classroom as our students, and enrich and inspire the campus community as participants in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and organizations. You are our mentors, friends, spouses, partners, colleagues and valued members of our CU family.

You are the hidden heroes among us, saying little about your service and asking nothing in return for it.

 It’s important for us to acknowledge that the academic freedoms we prize, and the spirit of debate and discussion that advances ideas here, and across America, have been guaranteed by your sacrifices and service. We owe you an immense debt of gratitude.

To those CU alumni here today who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, you represent a proud CU tradition of producing outstanding officers and leaders for our armed forces. We are privileged to have three tremendous ROTC units on campus. The young men and women commissioned through these organizations as well as the CU alumni who earned their commissions through other programs have served and are currently serving with distinction in virtually every corner of the world. I’m proud to acknowledge you as distinguished members of the Buff family and I thank you for your service!

To our student veterans here today, I want to acknowledge the contributions you are making to our campus and the pride we take in your accomplishments. You add a great deal to the fabric of our community. You bring unique perspectives and experiences to our classrooms, organizations and activities and you serve as tremendous role models; personifying the values you developed throughout your years in uniform; values like service, respect, loyalty, and integrity. At CU Boulder we have a tremendous opportunity to honor and acknowledge the sacrifices that our student veterans have made by honing our veteran services and continuing to welcome you as valued members of our community.

Finally, I want to acknowledge a special group of visitors who are with us today; the families and friends of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines from Colorado who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in defense of our freedom while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a few moments we will honor and memorialize dozens of Coloradans who answered their nation’s call to duty and fell in the process. To the family and friends of these heroes, we are honored to serve as the keepers of the names of those Coloradans who have given their all and I assure you that their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Again, to all of those who have served and sacrificed in our armed forces, please accept my thanks on behalf of a grateful CU community. As we celebrate Veterans Day today, I sincerely hope that all those on our campus will take time to remember, honor and thank the veterans among us; not just today but throughout the year.

Thank you.