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Army ROTC cadets stand watch at University of Portland campus memorial

For more than 60 years, cadets with the university's Army ROTC program have been standing watch on Veterans Day at the Praying Hands memorial.

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Veterans Day, two cadets from the University of Portland's Army ROTC program are standing guard at a memorial dedicated to the university's veterans. 

The Praying Hands memorial was built by the class of 1948 to honor those students who left school to fight in World War II. For more than 60 years, the tradition of having cadets stand guard has continued rain or shine.

An ROTC cadet from the U.S. Army and the Air Force will stand at the memorial for 30 minutes at a time over a 24-hour period.

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"For me it's a big deal, both my grandparents served in World War II and this gives me an opportunity to honor their sacrifice as soldiers and also the other servicemen and women who will be stepping into their shoes and carrying on their legacy of defending the values of this nation," said Drew Young, an Army ROTC cadet.

The 24-hour vigil will end at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. A Veterans Day ceremony will be held after the guard is retired. The ceremony will include guest speaker Maj. Gen. (Ret) Christopher Owens, a United States Marine Corps veteran. Owens was commissioned in 1982, serving his country for 35 years. He was appointed brigadier general in 2008 and major general in 2012.  

University faculty, staff, students and members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony. In accordance with the university's policy, all attendees will be required to wear masks and be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The Praying Hands memorial was expanded to include other wars and conflicts in which American service members and University of Portland students served, including World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. The memorial now contains the names of 80 University of Portland students who lost their lives in service to the country.

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