West Point Graduation 2020 – the Eve of the Army Birthday

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Today, June 13, marked the West Point Graduation of 2020 with President Trump giving the Commencement Address.

Here are some of his remarks at today’s graduation, which was on the eve of the US Army’s 245th Birthday. Among the familiar names of West Point alumni are Gen. George Patton, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Gen. Omar Bradley.

“…Across this hallowed plain have passed many of the greatest and most fearsome soldiers that ever lived.  They were heroes who drove thundering columns of Sherman tanks into the heart of a wicked empire.  They were legends who unleashed the fury of American artillery upon our enemies on remote islands and distant shores.  They were titans who strode through cannon blast and cavalry charge, and stared down our foes through gray clouds of smoke and shrapnel.  They were the Army Rangers who led the way up jagged cliffs, the Airborne soldiers who rained down justice in the dark of night, the infantry whose very sight meant liberation was near, and the mighty forces who sent tyrants, terrorists, and sadistic monsters running scared through the gates of hell.  No evil force on Earth can match the noble power and righteous glory of the American warrior.

I have no doubt that the young men and women before me today will add your names to this eternal chronicle of American heroes.  You will go forth from this place adored by your countrymen, dreaded by your enemies, and respected by all throughout the world.  Someday, generations of future West Point cadets will study your legacy.  They will know your deeds, they will celebrate your triumphs, and they will proudly follow your example…

...The members of this class have come from every state in our union.  You have come from the farms and the cities, from states big and small, and from every race, religion, color, and creed.  But when you entered these grounds, you became part of one team, one family, proudly serving one great American nation.  You became brothers and sisters pledging allegiance to the same timeless principles, joined together in a common mission to protect our country, to defend our people, and to carry on the traditions of freedom, equality, and liberty that so many gave their lives to secure.  You exemplify the power of shared national purpose to transcend all differences and achieve true unity.  Today, you graduate as one class, and you embody one noble creed: Duty, Honor, Country…

...The survival of America and the endurance of civilization itself depends on the men and women just like each of you.  It depends on people who love their country with all their heart and energy and soul. It depends on citizens who build, sustain, nurture, and defend institutions like this one; that is how societies are made and how progress is advanced.  What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment.  When times are turbulent, when the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring, and eternal.

It was on this soil that American patriots held the most vital fortress in our war for independence. It was this school that gave us the men who fought and won a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery within one lifetime of our founding. It was the graduates of West Point — towering figures like McArthur, Patton, Eisenhower, and Bradley — who led America to victory over the sinister Nazis and imperial fascists 75 years ago.  It was under the leadership of West Point graduates like the legendary General Matthew Ridgway that the Army was at the forefront of ending the terrible injustice of segregation.  It was Army strength that held the line against the brutal opposition and oppression from Communism.  And it has been thanks to patriots like you that America has climbed to new heights of human achievement and national endeavor.

This is your history.  This is the legacy that each of you inherits.  It is the legacy purchased with American blood at the crest of Little Round Top, on the crimson beaches of Normandy, in the freezing mud of Bastogne, and the dense jungles of Vietnam.  It is the legacy of courageous, selfless, faithful patriots who fought for every inch of dirt with every ounce of strength and every last scrap of heart and drive and grit they had.

The cadets were “socially distanced” with chairs set 6 feet apart, and family members watched on livestream instead of in person. The President made reference to the tragic loss of Cadet C.J. Morgan last year in a training accident. He honored the top class member, Lindy Mooradian, and the class member with the lowest grades (officially known as the “goat”) who traditionally gets a bag of money from the other cadets.  One of the graduates became a Rhodes Scholar, First Captain Dane Van de Wall.

Featured photo: screenshot via White House

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