President Joe Biden delivers the keynote address at the U.S. Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony, May 27, 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, accompanied by the Vice Admiral Sean S buck, United States Navy Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. Mhm. Right. Yeah. Mhm. Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we invite all of our guests to remain standing for our national anthem sung by midshipman, first class Donald Neil. And the invocation given by chaplain. Richard by net chaplain corps, United States Navy. Mm hmm, mm hmm. What improved through the that are black was still there yet of the brave. Yeah. Ladies and gentlemen, as you wish, I invite you to join me for prayer eternal Father! As we gather to graduate into commission the class of 2022, we realized that only four years ago these midshipmen arrived at the Naval Academy and marched through the doors of Bancroft Hall to begin a life of study and of service. It was there that they were taught the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty. And we’re prepared for the arduous task of military leadership. May their memories of the Naval Academy always bring happiness and peace to their hearts. May the friendships they formed here sustained them throughout their lives and May their service to America make our country stronger On this day as they received their commissions as they take their rightful place as true leaders in the service to which they’ve been assigned. Bless and protect them ever from all harm. And Father bless also those who love them. And even now we’re looking on with deep pride and affection. Give them this rich satisfaction of knowing that without their crucial contributions this day would have not come for the midship and they call their own finally gracious Lord bless our country granted it may ever serve as a beacon of light in a world of encroaching darkness. We pray this in your holy name. Amen. Please be seated. Ladies and Gentlemen, 63rd Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Sean S. Buck. Welcome President Biden, Secretary del Toro, General burger, Admiral guild a family friends. But most importantly, the class of 2022, let me be the first to congratulate you. Today is your day. Oh yeah, mm hmm. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here today. Looking at it all of you and all of your loved ones here in Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. So much work has been done behind the scenes to make commissioning week run smoothly and safely and to set up this beautiful ceremony. I’d like to take a brief moment to thank our dedicated faculty and staff, the Naval Academy Athletic Association, the Blue angels earlier in the week. I’m sorry we won’t have them today. The class of 1972, which is this year’s link in the chain class, our chaplain corps and our very own Naval Academy band for putting on a fabulous ceremony this year for our graduating class. How about a big round of applause everyone okay to the mothers and fathers. The brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, sponsors, and friends here today. Thank you sincerely Thank you for your unwavering and everlasting support of the men and women that are on this field. The class of 22 weathered a global pandemic during the heart of their naval academy journey. And while I am proud of the resilience that they demonstrated during the darkest hours of that journey, I am most proud of the leadership that they demonstrated navigating the brigade of midshipmen out of that challenging period. Over the past year, The class of 2022 re instilled a sense of unity, camaraderie and esprit decor amongst their fellow mid shipment that had been fragmented during the toughest periods of the pandemic 2022, I will forever be grateful for your grit, your professionalism and your optimism that helped the brigade of midshipmen thrive this past year 22. Your journey at the Naval Academy in many ways mirrors the class of 1922 who had the responsibility of reinvigorating many customs and traditions and spirit on the yard following the demands of the First World War and the Spanish flu. In their lucky bag, they published the following verse in a poem entitled Annapolis. The four long years. We tarried here. We always yearned to Rome, but when the time came to depart, it felt like leaving home 22 like every class that has come before you during your time in Annapolis. Your gaze has been necessarily focused on the horizon and the challenges to come by design. You’re four years by the bay are spent in constant preparation for what comes next as officers in the fleet and the great adventures that await each and every one of you. Within the hour, each of you will raise your right hand and take an oath to defend the constitution that action. And that promise will bind you to every Naval Academy graduate that has come before you and every graduate that will follow. Take your oath today with the knowledge that you have a strong foundation upon which to continue your journey as Navy and Marine Corps officers. And also know that the yard, the faculty and staff who have dedicated their life’s work to their mission and this community of alumni that you’re joining today will forever remain your home ready to welcome you back to our shore’s from wherever you may roam. Your nation is counting on you. Class of 22. Your naval academy of family is proud of you. We look forward to seeing what each and every one of you will accomplish. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my distinct pleasure to introduce the 78th Secretary of the Navy, the honorable Carlos del Toro. Yeah, Good Morning, Class of 22. President Biden. Thank you for joining us here today and for your principal leadership of our Armed services, My wife Betty and I deeply appreciate all that you and dr Biden do for our military families. We also thank you for the compassion that you have shown to families around the world who are fleeing danger and seeking a better life. This is very personal to me. You see 39 years ago, there were two refugees amongst the families watching the ceremony. Their names were Martha and Raul del Toro. They were my parents. They brought me to this country from CUBA when I was one year old escaping the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. The United States welcomed us with open arms. I grew up in a nation. It was built on values protected by a military, built on honor, joining that military and graduating from this institution. It was my chance to give back to this great nation. Well, I know my parents were proud of my own individual achievements that day. I also know that they were deeply proud of their own then 17-year journey in America as difficult as it was and I hope today that every family here today takes a deep measure of pride and the journey that has brought you to this moment because today is more than just an individual achievement by these proud young men and women before us. It is truly truly a family accomplishment. It is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice on the part of parents, grandparents, siblings, loved ones, molding these young men and women into patriots, ready to serve their country. You have instilled in them the core values they will need to succeed as officers. As lifelong leaders among those values are disciplined skill, passion, commitment, commissioning from the United States Naval Academy is indeed one of the toughest things that any young person can do with their lives. He said every rising ensign to second lieutenant here today, thank you for your decision to serve our nation and for the excellence that you have shown here in Annapolis today. You will receive two documents and should be equally proud of both of your degree represents a tremendous individual achievement. Graduation from one of the most elite academic institutions in the world, but the urge of the document is different. Your commission, There’s a statement of trust directly from the President of the United States administered today by the comment on the Marine Corps and the Chief of Naval Operations. Be worthy of that trust at all times. From the moment that you arrive at your very first command, you will be entrusted with the responsibility to lead our sailors and our marines. It will be called upon to make hard decisions to demonstrate leadership and above all to think strategically as you rise through the ranks. It will help chart our nation’s future through many challenges from strategic competition with china and Russia to climate change. You cannot know where your career may take you anymore than Admiral buck and I did In 1983. My earliest assignments put many tools in my leadership kit, the ones that I rely upon even today as Secretary of the Navy, I learned the importance of listening to those we lead, particularly noncommissioned officers. You must do the same, be humble, be inquisitive, always ready to learn. They’re always willing to listen, give your people the opportunity and the motivation to share their ideas and their concerns. You have many great leaders to follow and many great examples to emulate. But don’t just follow in their footsteps either create your own journeys. Be bold and fulfill your destiny is the best and the brightest of the Navy and Marine Corps have to offer At our conspiracy movement. In 1983, Almost 39 years for this day, then Secretary of the Navy, john Lehman told us work within the navy system, but don’t give away your essential self, your individuality, your daring. I remember shaking the secretary’s hand that day, I couldn’t have known what was going through his mind now I do. He felt immense pride as I do today, handing off a sacred legacy to the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps leaders, Officers who stood where you stand today have become admirals generals. Battle tested veterans. The legacy you join includes the United States presidents, diplomats, business leaders and extraordinary members of our civilian community. Every one of them stepped forward and took the same oath you take today, every one of them was in some manner tested against that both as you will surely be always live up to your commitment. Remember what brought you here and who brought you here? Because that will determine everything about where you go from here. So congratulations to the class of 2022 and to all of your families and friends. Thank you. Thank you. I am honored to welcome you all to the force and the fleet. Thank you. Yeah, ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to introduce the 46th President of the United States. The honorable joseph R Biden. Jr Yeah. Hello Naval Academy. Whoa. Before I begin my speech and thought crossed my mind As I was told, the class of 72 is here. Yeah. I was appointed to the academy In 1965. Bye Senator Who I was running against in 1972. I never planned it that way. I was, wasn’t old enough to be sworn in. I was only 29 years old when I was running. He was a fine man. His name is J Caleb Boggs. I didn’t come to the academy because I wanted to be a football star and you had a guy named star back and Bellino here. So I went to Delaware but all kidding aside, The best line of the debate was after, it’s all over Hey announcer, the questioner who was a good guy but supported my opponent who was a good man as well, I might add. And he said, Senator bob. Is there anything else you want to say? And he said, yes, just one thing. And he took the microphone, he said, you know joe if you accept it, my commission to the account, my appointment of the academy. He said you still have one year and three months active duty and I’d have no problems right now. So the class is 72 welcome. You guys must be very proud of all you’ve seen and done. Well midshipman, you made it, you made it. I’ll bet there were times you wondered if you’d ever see this day, especially those early days, you had to chop everywhere. Memorize every re point to make it through the sea trials. So and maybe even passing chemistry and for God’s sake. Well this education has at times pushed the edge of what you thought would be possible in order to develop you morally mentally and physically. And it was worth it. It was worth it all because today you stand ready to assume the title you’ve been working toward for so long. Ensign. United States, Navy, second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps, Members of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. And that’s no exaggeration. You have earned it. Congratulations. I mean it you really are. I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 40 I think 38 times. My son spent a year in Iraq won the bronze bark speakers service medal. I lost him. But any rate, I’ve seen you in action. This is the finest military not a joke. We have the finest military in the history of the world and thank you Admiral Admiral buck for the work you and your team have done to put these young men and women in shape when they arrived here four days ago and I day and the officers of the armed services in the United States of America and Secretary Arturo, I don’t know Bill Day general burger, you know better than anyone. How important these emissions are. We’re gonna ask these young officers to carry out and looking out of this field is clear to me we’re gonna be sending our finest congressman Ruppersberger. It’s great to see you here. I’m told you’re here. I also want to recognize congressman Desjarlais uh, and who and and congressman Crowley both here today as proud parents commissioning midshipman by the way. And I know you know that all mentioned here are holy in their hearts. The memory of two classmates who tragically did not live to see this day. I hope I’m promising Duke’s last name correctly. Carrillo and Michael and Michael Mills James folks, chip me, this is your day, but I want to start by recognizing the people who got you here, your parents, your family, everyone here that shows the support to get here is their day as well. So midshipman stand up and clap for them for them. I mean it moms and dads and grandparents. Thanks for instilling such honor and integrity in these young women and men. Class of 2022. You made incredible memories. Please have a seat during your time in the yard after all this after all, this class holds one of the fastest Herndon climbs in history. Yeah. Upholding the tradition set by the link in the chain. Class change 50 years ago. This is a class that earned a record number of wins against the army and the end star competition. I hope my son up in heaven doesn’t hear me saying that part. He’s armed so many wins and ran out of room on that flagpole man. Look, this is a class of midshipmen, Diego uh, Diego who wasn’t expecting that snap in this year’s Army Navy game. But once he got the ball, he knew what he would do with it, didn’t he? You won the game, you won the game class of midship and Sarah Skinner, The 54th Rhodes scholar in the United States Naval Academy 54 and lead the women’s rugby team to a national title stand up. I want you to stand it up and now Sarah’s on the Olympic development team. I can’t wait to see you kid. I can’t wait to see you when I couldn’t play football anymore. I played rugby in law school. I should have spent more time in law school. But anyway, Class of Midshipman 1st Class Andre Rosco Delta company. You’re class president. Yes, I don’t know. But somebody told me you may have questions for me. I think only the class understands that one. You’ve all got so much to be proud of. You really do by the way, Once you’re commissioned, remember I’m your commander in chief. So don’t ask me too tough a question. Okay, look, and I know unlike me, well, I graduated from University of Delaware, I had a few thank you. I had a few minor infractions like hosing down in our area. And anyway, unfortunately, uh, there’s uh, we didn’t have the same tradition you have here. So before I take care of you, let’s not forget. This is also the class that also got rowdy during the Air Force weak and please be here And they’re still trying to clean the chocolate syrup off the ceiling and king hall. You lived through Red Beach Massacre. Yeah. Can that help? And that helped. The printers earned their jump wings. Anyone wants to fess up to getting the print around in the chapel dome. Now is your moment. No 1’s Gonna Admit It. Okay. Because as your commander in chief and keeping with a long standing tradition, I hereby absolve all those serving restrictions for minor infractions. You are absolved. Mm hmm. And as I said, I wish that all my graduation speaker had been able to do that. You all think I’m kidding. I’m not midshipman above all. The academy has trained you to be leaders. Easy word to throw around. It was hard to accomplish. You didn’t take the easier route when you chose the academy and again, when you sign your two for sevens, you chose the life of service and purpose. You chose trial and sacrifice. You chose to be part of a mission that’s greater than any individual. Well, every class in mid shipment is tested. You face that and challenges to maintain a sense of mission and community and purpose. When the global pandemic forced everything, literally everything to change. When you were told not to return after spring break as youngsters. When your second year, you weren’t allowed to see any other, anybody other than a roommate. Hope to hell you picked right when you had to take your classes over June zoom I should say setting in your uniforms and mesh shorts. I figured that and then coming back to the yard as first is not only reform but to remember what this place and what this time is supposed to be like to return to the brigade to what it was. Pre covid and rebuild morale. You have the responsibility to right the ship and all of you stepped up. I’m told you came together, you learn the first and most important lesson of leadership. The always, always care for your people to respect everyone’s talent to be inclusive and to make sure the United States Navy in the United States Marine Corps draw from the full strength and diversity of this nation. Everybody. Midshipman for the rest of your careers, you’re going to face challenges unforeseen. You’re gonna have to adapt, be ready to lead your people through whatever lies ahead to state the obvious. No generation of graduates gets to pick what world we’re gonna live. We’re going to graduate into. It’s already been formed for you, but you must change it. No officer knows the range of challenges they’ll face when they commissioned The Class of 2022. You’re graduating at an inflection point, not only in American history, but in world history and I mean it the challenge we face. The choices we make or more consequential than ever. Things are changing so rapidly That the next 10 years will be the decisive decade of this century, because you’re gonna shape what the roll looks like and the values that will guide it, not just for the immediate future, but for generations to come. And that is not hyperbole. Over the past few years, we’ve seen how interconnected the world is the deadly pandemic has impacted not just our own schooling, but almost every aspect of our lives impacts of disruptions in global supply chain, causing significant inflation, accelerating the climate crisis that’s leading to rising seas and more severe weather patterns are out around the globe and Putin’s brutal brutal war in Ukraine. Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, he’s literally trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other purpose and eliminate a culture, a direct assault On the fundamental 10ets of rule based international order. That’s what you’re graduating into. That’s the world in which answers and second lieutenants, a world that more than ever requires strong principle engaged American leadership where America leads not only by the example of its power but the power of its example. Think of why most nations agreed to support us. It’s an example, it’s the example we set. You’ll learn to crew the most advanced ships in the world. Train. Most elite combat units conduct undetected submarine missions, fly the most advanced fighter planes but the most powerful tool that you wield is an unmatched network of global alliances and the strength of our partnerships. But since I got elected, I’ve been trying to reestablish in detail earlier this week, I returned from my first trip as president. Been there before as president though at the end of pacific region that will be vital to the future of our world. Remember the leaders of Japan, the heads of state of Japan, the Republic of Korea are participating in a meeting of the quad, which I restarted over china’s objection including Australia, Japan India and the United States for leading democracies in the pacific And I launched together with 13 other countries across the region, the new Indo Pacific Economic Framework, Help write the rules of the road for the 21st century before I departed Asia. Before I left for Asia, I should say, I got a phone call from the prime Minister of Sweden and the president of Finland. Could they come and see me in the open? They came to ask me whether I would support them joining NATO. The action taken by Putin or attempt to use my phrase to finda allies all of Europe, make it all neutral. Instead he NATO-ized all of Europe. All of this is the lust you did of a foreign policy that was built around the power of working together with allies and partners. Two amplifiers trend to solve problems to project our power beyond what we can do alone and to preserve stability in an uncertain world. This is the work that will be asked of you. This is not hyperbole. I’m being deadly earnest with you because it will be as sailors and marines, submariners and seals, navy aviators, surface warfare officers. We’re gonna look to you to ensure the security of the American people. To build connections and strengthen interoperability with our allies and partners around the world. You already started that work here at the academy Where today we’re graduating 12 international midship and representing 10 countries who were commissioned as officers and the militaries of other nations graduates. You will be the symbol and strength of your commitment to lead the world. You’re gonna stand sentinel often shoulder to shoulder for the allies and partners in critical regions of the world, like the service women and men. I just visited the republican career the troops I spent time within Poland and martin. We’re making real our commitment the security of our NATO allies and in the pacific the maritime theater will be the leading edge of our response to natural humanitarian disaster showing people throughout the region the unmatched ability of the United States to be a force for good. You’ll defend the international rules of the road, underwrite the future of the Indo pacific that is free and open, ensure freedom of navigation of the south china sea and beyond to make sure the sea lanes remain open and secure. These longstanding basic maritime principles are the bedrock of a global economy and global stability. You’re going to help get together our allies in Europe with our allies in the indo pacific. For the first time, I can hesitate for a second. Did anybody think when I call for sanctions against Russia in addition to NATO that Australia Japan north Korea, some of the Asian countries would stand up and support those sanctions. The world is moving so rapidly. I need not tell you aviators and then the next decade you’re going to be able to circumvent the world in within the atmosphere and a little less than a little more than an hour. Things are changing and Putin’s brutal assault on Ukraine. The spirit of truly global response, not just from Europe Japan Korea, Singapore, new Zealand and more standing with us to impose sanctions on Russia. Australia, sending military aid Germany for the first time, significantly up in their budget Germany Fiji assisting the FBI and seizing the yacht of an oligarch we’re seeing the world aligned not in terms of geography, east and West, pacific and Atlantic, but in terms of values. We’re living through a global struggle between autocracies and democracies. And I will know to my comment, I’ve met more with xi Jinping than any other world leader had when he called me to congratulate on election night. He said to me was he said many times before He said democracies cannot be sustained in the 21st century. Autocracies will run why things are changing so rapidly democracies of our consensus and it takes time and you don’t have the time. He’s wrong. Each of you as you got in the world, will not only be a proud member of the armed forces of the United States of America. You’ll be representatives and defenders of our democracy. Sounds corny but literally our democracy. That’s why you swear an oath not to me as your commander in chief for any political leader but to the constitution. Our nation is placing in you great trust and great faith young man with me today. Karen, it’s on the football, all the responsibility given to so many of you so consequential because you chose you chose the honorable path that few before you have done and you’re gonna look to uphold the honor of this institution and a generation of proud patriots who passed this way before you. Patriots like a dear friend of mine, john McCain, john and I went after each other, hammer and tong on the senate floor. We disagreed politically on things. But being here, I can’t help thinking john and how the Naval Academy meant so much to him. He chose these grounds for his final resting place. John was an American hero who withstood torture years of being held as a prisoner of war and when he came home, he decided to continue. He wanted to continue to serve. We traveled tens of thousands of miles together as he is staffing me as a senator. I’m one of the reasons and I always kidded by my democratic friends. I talked him into running. He was a man of great principle and capacity. He always lived by a code. The same code that you all have been taught. It’s not just words, it’s real duty honor loyalty. He kept that code throughout his years as a prisoner of war all the time. He served in the United States Congress. I said we often disagreed, but we were close friends, john and I, we knew one another In March of 2018. I was honored that john asked me because he wasn’t physically able to come to the Naval Academy and receive on his behalf the alumni association’s Distinguished Graduate award and speak for him. Shortly after that. And john was on his death in his home in Arizona. I went to see him, I was leaving after the visit and in a voice barely above a whisper, he called me over his bedside joe When you do my eulogy suggest john living at the same time. two guys who think they’re hard as guys, looked at another and said, I love you. Class of 2022, John McCain’s memorial was one of the first experiences you had in the academy back in 2018, your class motto, not all of me shall die. I can’t help but think must be a reflection. Some reflection of that moment in your lives reminder responsibilities you’ve taken on and the legacy you will leave behind. It’s a promise I promise you made each other into this institution because what lives on will be the service you will give to others and the timeless principles that you’re willing to sacrifice everything to defend in this moment. We must steer our nation and our world through this decisive decade. I hope you’ll keep the memory of the example of academy graduates. Like my friend john McCain, close in your hearts as you embark on your commission, I cannot promise you the way will be straight but the sale, it would be easy. But I can’t promise you and you all have the tools needed to navigate any waters you encounter. This great Academy has prepared you to face every challenge and overcome any obstacle You are ready for my wish to you is fair winds and following seas, because I know you will remain always faithful. May God protect you all, and may set you on your journey. May God protect all those who wear the uniform of the United States of America. Thank you. Thank you for your service. Mhm.