President Obama recently delivered what was likely his final commencement speech at the US Air Force Academy, and he had a whole lot to say. Much of what he said was standard commencement speech fare, but there was still quite a bit of liberal “red meat” and “Republican shaming” tossed in for good measure. This president may go down as one of the most arrogant, condescending, and rude to ever serve, but he’ll most certainly be remembered for never missing a chance to denigrate his political opponents.
Watch the speech for yourself if you can stand it, or read the transcript at the White House website.
Partial Transcript – See the full transcript from the White House.
Cadets, here you were tested by fire — literally. When you went through Beast, as General Johnson noted, Waldo Canyon was actually on fire. During Recognition, you ran to the Rock in a blizzard. So you have more than earned your unofficial motto — “forged in fire and tempered in ice.” Which is a great motto — although it does sound like something out of Game of Thrones.
And through it all, you’ve become like family. You survived morning accountability formations, survived living in Sijan Hall. That night in F-1 where you learned to “earn each day.” You cheered Coach Calhoun and the Falcons as I’ve welcomed them to the White House to present the Commander-in-Chief Trophy which Air Force has won a record 19 times.
And I look out into your ranks and I see Airmen who will excel as pilots and engineers, analysts — so many specialties. The first cyber graduates in this Academy’s history. And David Higgins, a marksman who’s going to the Olympics in Rio — bring home the gold, David! No pressure.
In you, I see men and women of integrity and service and excellence. And you’ve made us all proud. And perhaps no one would have been more proud of your success than Major David Brodeur, whose sacrifice in Afghanistan we honor, and whose family joins us today — 2016…
And perhaps no element of our power is more enduring than the example that we set ourselves — the values we live as a nation and as individuals. That’s how we won the Cold War — not just with the strength of our arms, but with the power of our ideas, the power of our example. It’s how we defend our nation — including our refusal to torture — because America doesn’t just insist that other countries respect human rights, we have to uphold them, as well, and lead the way. It’s how we treat those we capture. It’s one of the reasons we have to close the prison at Guantanamo — because America has to stand for rule of law.
We live our values when our military, like America itself, truly welcomes the talents of all people. We’re stronger when our gay and lesbian cadets and troops can serve their country — a country they love — without hiding who they love. We’re stronger when cadets — like Wasim Soomro and Ismail Baumy and James Salem — know that we celebrate their service as proud, patriotic Muslim Americans who are also serving in our armed forces.
And on this 40th anniversary of the first female cadets arriving at this Academy, we are stronger because General Johnson leads this institution; because Air Force General Lori Robinson leads Northern Command — our nation’s first female combatant commander; and because all combat positions in our military are now open to women like you. We’re stronger because of it.
So there you have it — a few thoughts from your Commander-in-Chief on how to keep our military strong and our nation secure. We can never know what the future holds. But in the not-so-distant future, when I’m no longer President, I will sleep well at night because I know that men and women like you serve to keep us free.
Take care of each other. Take care of those under your command. And as long as you keep strong that Long Blue Line, stay true to the values you’ve learned here — integrity, service before self, excellence — do this and I’m confident that we will always remain one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Congratulations, Class of 2016. God bless you all. God bless the United States of America.
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