Vice President Kamala Harris became the first female opening speaker to address graduates at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday.
At the outdoor commissioning ceremony, Harris spoke of the challenges the graduates would face – such as the ‘national security threat’ from climate change and cyber-intrusions like the ‘warning shot’ on the colonial pipeline – and noted how midshipmen affected the world. entered a period of major changes on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘If we were not clear before, we now know: our world is interconnected. Our world is interdependent. Our world is fragile, ”she said.
Vice President Kamala Harris became the first female novice speaker to address graduates at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday
Vice President Kamala Harris faces graduating midshipman at the US Naval Academy on Friday
Graduate midshipmen toss their hats in the air at the conclusion of the US Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers her speech on the stadium’s massive jumbotron
Two graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy kiss at the end of Friday’s graduation and commissioning ceremony at the Annapolis school
A graduate of the US Naval Academy holds up her diploma (center) as Vice President Kamala Harris greets graduates
She congratulated the graduates and praised their efforts during the pandemic, which she says has “ accelerated our world into a new era. ”
“You rolled up your sleeves and you got vaccinated – and you made it to this day, you made it to this day,” she said.
Harris spoke about the work the military was doing to help the country fight COVID-19.
“Our military helped develop the technology that made the vaccine possible,” she said. Marine researchers have also discovered how to use 3D knitting machines to make masks. Marine laboratories monitored the spread of the disease. And the Marine Corps and the Navy are at the forefront of linking the pandemic to the medical readiness of our armed forces for the future. ‘
Harris said, “The American people depend on you.”
She added, “We saw this during COVID-19 when Americans watched members of our military help vaccinate our country, because you know biological threats like pandemics and infectious diseases are yet another threat in this era.”
She described the cyber attack earlier this month that shut down the country’s largest fuel pipeline as “a warning shot” of what awaits the new Navy and Marine Corps officers.
Vice President Kamala Harris shows off her US Naval Academy coat at graduation and commission ceremony
Vice President Kamala Harris adjusts jacket handed to her Friday in Annapolis at that US Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony
Vice President Kamala Harris arrives via Marine Two at the 2021 graduation and commissioning ceremony for the US Naval Academy class
The Blue Angels will fly over the US Naval Academy Graduate and Commissioning Ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Friday
In fact, there have been a lot of warning shots, so we have to defend our country against these threats, and at the same time we have to make progress in things that you’ve learned – things like quantum computers and artificial intelligence and robotics and all. that will give our nation a strategic advantage, ”Harris said.
In her address to more than 1,000 graduates in Annapolis, Maryland, including those graduating in mechanical, electrical and ocean engineering, she described climate change as “a very real threat to our national security.”
“I’m looking at you and I know you’re one of the experts who will navigate and reduce the threat,” Harris said.
Harris ended her speech by telling the graduates of a visit she had made before traveling to the stadium.
“Our nation is designed as a team sport and we do this together,” she said.
“So you know, finally I’ll just share it with you on the way to the stadium this morning I stopped by the cemetery to pay respects to my dear former colleague, a wonderful and brave American, Senator John McCain,” she said.
On McCain’s name, a respected graduate of the Naval Academy, the audience broke into applause.
“So most people don’t know that he wanted to be buried next to his best friend, whom he met in the yard, Admiral Chuck Larson,” Harris said.
“That’s the ultimate example of what I mean – in it together,” she added.
Most of the 1,084 graduates were commissioned as officers in the Navy and Marine Corps, including 784 Navy flags and 274 Marines as 2nd Lieutenants.
About 28 percent of the graduating class is female.
Vice President Kamala Harris marked the milestone of becoming the first woman to deliver the keynote address at the academy’s ceremony the same year the academy had its first black female brigade commander.
Midshipman Sydney Barber, who this year was the first black female brigade commander at the US Naval Academy, pauses for a photo as he joins other graduate midshipmen.
The commissioning ceremony was again held in person at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, a year after the academy held its first virtual graduation and commissioning ceremony due to the pandemic.
Harris marked the milestone of becoming the first woman to deliver the keynote address at the academy’s commissioning ceremony the same year the academy had its first black female brigade commander, representing approximately 4,400 midshipmen.
Midshipman Sydney Barber, who was appointed second lieutenant in the Marines at the ceremony, said it was an exciting and emotional day to graduate with Harris speaking.
She said she would meet with the vice president after the ceremony.
“I intend to thank her for paving the way,” Ms Barber said in an interview before the ceremony. “She certainly paved the way for me, inspired me throughout the journey.”