Speaking from the academy’s campus in New London, Connecticut, Biden acknowledged the accomplishments of the graduates amid an unprecedented pandemic earlier than he outlined his perception that the US is at a “significant inflection point in world history,” broadly discussing the Coast Guard’s function in pandemic, storm, wildfire and flooding response.
“When nations try to game the system or tip the rules in their favor, it throws everything off balance. That’s why we are so adamant that these areas of the world that are the arteries of trade and shipping remain peaceful, whether that’s the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and, increasingly, the Arctic,” Biden stated. “It’s a vital interest to America’s foreign policy: secure, unimpeded flow of global commerce. It won’t happen without us taking an active role to set the norms of conduct to shape them around democratic values, not those of autocrats.”
Biden final delivered a graduation tackle to the academy in 2013 when he was vice chairman. Now this yr, marking his first graduation tackle since taking workplace, the President stated he believes the calls for and challenges the 2021 class will face “are going to look very different than those who walked these halls before you.”
Biden acknowledged throughout his remarks that final yr, the Coast Guard Academy’s graduating class held a digital commencement ceremony. This yr, graduates had been seated on a soccer subject spaced about three toes aside with households spaced out throughout half-full bleachers.
The President credited the cadets for assembly “the threat” of the pandemic “head on.”
“You adapted, showed your resilience and you led,” Biden stated. “And with careful precautions and regular testing, you were able to go back to your lives and training in New London to conduct your first year class in person. It certainly looked and felt different, I’m sure, but you found ways to keep many of the academy’s traditions alive and maybe even formed a few new ones.”
He known as the in-person commencement an “important marker” in progress in opposition to the pandemic and “a victory in and of itself.”
“It’s a testament (to) the skill and military discipline and sense of responsibility you already embody. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the 140th graduating class of the United States Coast Guard Academy will reflect the very best of our country in the proudest positions of our service,” Biden stated.
He additionally marked the second — his first addressing this group as commander-in-chief — by absolving graduates of minor infractions.