President Donald Trump on Saturday celebrated America’s enduring values and institutions as he delivered the commencement address for the West Point class of 2020.
“What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment,” he said. “When times are turbulent, when the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring, and eternal.”
The commencement ceremony at the historic grounds of West Point took place on The Plain, socially distancing the graduates in reaction to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s no place on earth that I would rather be than right here,” Trump said after a patriotic opening ceremony featuring musical choir and band performances and a 21 gun salute. “Few words in the English language and few places in history have commanded as much awe and admiration as West Point.”
The president thanked all branches of the military that stepped forward to help fight the coronavirus, noting that it is “a virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China.”
“We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague,” he said.
The president spoke at length about the history of the United States Army and the military legends from West Point, such as Gen. George Patton and Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
“These great leaders were not afraid of what others might say about them. They didn’t care. They knew their duty was to protect our country,” he said.
The Army throughout history, he noted, “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,” he said.
The president stated that under his administration, he had brought many troops home and rebuilt the American military to new strengths.
“We’re ending the era of endless wars,” he said. “In its place is a renewed clear-eyed focus on defending America’s vital interests. It is not the duty of U.S. troops to solve ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have never even heard of.
The president also acknowledged the 245th birthday of the Army, which is on Sunday, June 14.
“Tomorrow, America will celebrate a very important anniversary — the 245th birthday of the U.S. Army,” he said, adding with a grin. “Unrelated, it’s going to be my birthday also. I don’t know if that happened by accident.”