UPDATE: Click here to watch President Barack Obama’s commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2011.
Today, President Barack Obama welcomed the Coast Guard’s newest officers into the corps, saluting their achievements and inspiring them in service to their country.
As the more than 200 cadets in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 2011 recited the oath of office in the presence of their commander in chief, they set sail on a journey to make their mark on the legacy that is the United States Coast Guard.
“‘Who lives here reveres honor, honors duty.’ You know those words well. They set the highest standards of conduct and integrity for all who pass through Chase Hall. Your presence here today — and the new boards that your loved ones and mentors will place upon your shoulders — signify that you have met these highest of standards,” said Obama during the Academy’s 130th commencement address.
In his speech, Obama emphasized the Coast Guard’s important role as America’s first responders during events like the spill of national significance in the Gulf of Mexico, the earthquake that struck Haiti, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and most recently the flooding along the Mississippi River system. As he noted our presence in Afghanistan, and every major conflict the nation has ever fought, he outlined the significance of the Service’s traditional life saving, national defense and law enforcement missions.
“Cadets, this is the heritage, this is the tradition that you will carry forward. And I know that you will do so with the same sense of purpose, the same sense of patriotism that have defined your days at this Academy,” said Obama. “The arc of your careers, like the course of our country, will be shaped by the values that have kept us strong for more than 200 years.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2011, you are now part of the distinguished “Long Blue Line.”