WEST POINT, N.Y. — Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told cadets graduating from the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday that they serve a crucial role in not letting terrorists define “our sense of the norm.”
Mattis was the commencement speaker for the academy’s 219th graduation ceremony, which sent 936 cadets off to different ranks in the military.
The retired Marine Corps general spent much of his nearly 15-minute speech commending the cadets for their commitment to the military and called West Point “one of the foundation keystones of our nation.”
He told the stadium of more than 20,000 people that this week’s bombing at a concert venue in Manchester, England, “underscores the purpose for your years of study and training” and continuing on in the military.
Twenty-two people were killed in a bombing at a concert hall in Manchester on Monday.
“You join the ranks of those whose mission is to guard freedom and to protect the innocent from such terror,” Mattis told the cadets.
He also praised the cadets for joining the Army while the country was at war in the Middle East and for committing to it during uncertain times.
“By the time this class was in first-grade classrooms in every state across our union, our country had been thrust into a war by maniacs who thought that by hurting us, they could scare us. Well, we don’t scare,” Mattis said. “Nothing better represents America’s awesome determination to defend yourself than this graduating class.”
Source: USA Today