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VP Kamala Harris Makes History As The First Woman To Deliver Commencement Address At West Point Leave a comment


Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the commencement address at the US Military Academy at West Point on Saturday, making her the first woman to do so in its 221-year history.

The historic event coincides with the 75th anniversary of two significant military milestones in the United States: the beginning of women’s permanent inclusion in the armed forces and the end of racial segregation in the military.

“These milestones are a reminder of a fundamental truth,” Harris told graduates on Saturday morning. “Our military is strongest when it reflects the people of America.”

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At U.S. military schools, vice presidents have traditionally delivered commencement speeches. Last year, Harris gave the commencement address to U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates, and in 2021, she became the first female commencement speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy, NPR reports.

Vice President Harris is no stranger to making history as she is the first woman, Black Caribbean American and South Asian American to be elected Vice President of the United States of America.

In her speech, she warned graduates of an “increasingly unsettled world where long-standing principles are under threat.” She also discussed global security and prosperity themes, arguing that America’s democratic ideals “inspire billions.”

VP Kamala Harris Makes History As The First Woman To Deliver  Commencement Address At West Point
WEST POINT, NEW YORK – MAY 27: Vice President Kamala Harris hands out diplomas after delivering the keynote speech at Michie Stadium during West Point’s graduation ceremony on May 27, 2023 in West Point, New York. Harris is the first woman to give a commencement address in the military academy’s 221-year history. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“In the face of all these challenges, America plays a singular role of leadership,” the vice president told the graduates. “Cadets, global security and global prosperity depend on the leadership of the United States of America. And a strong America remains indispensable to the world.”

She spoke about Russia and called the invasion of Ukraine “an attack on the lives and freedom of the Ukrainian people and an attack on international rules and norms that have served as the foundation of international security and prosperity for generations.”

She also slammed China for “modernizing its military and threatening both the freedom of the seas and rules of international commerce.”

Harris’s comments come as President Joe Biden is seeking a second term in the White House in 2024. Both have emphasized the importance of preserving democratic values at home and strengthening alliances abroad, despite their contentious relations with Russia and China.

In closing, Harris told West Point graduates: “You join the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen, and in years to come, I promise you, you will be tried, and you will be tested.”

“I am so very confident that you will rise to each occasion. Whatever comes your way. You are ready. And you are ready because you are true leaders of character,” she said.


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