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'We Need You Badly,' Biden Tells Cadets At Coast Guard Academy Commencement In CT

President Biden speaks at the United States Coast Guard Academy’s 140th commencement exercises in New London, CT.
President Biden speaks at the United States Coast Guard Academy’s 140th commencement exercises in New London, CT. Video Credit: The White House

President Joe Biden was in Connecticut to congratulate the latest class of cadets into the US Coast Guard.

During a lengthy speech at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London on Wednesday, May 19, the president expressed his appreciation to the 240 new officers, including seven international students, who are now officially members of the Coast Guard.

“The class of 2021, you have it all," Biden said during his address. "You really do. And we need you badly. And I’m not — that’s not hyperbole; the country needs you.

“The press always asks me why I’m so optimistic about America’s chances in the world.  And I’ve said from the time I decided to run, ‘Because of this generation,’” he added. “You’re the most progressive, best-educated, least prejudiced, most open generation in American history. We need you badly.  You’re ready; it’s time to get underway.”

Officials noted that the Class of 2021 consisted of 34 percent women and 34 percent from underrepresented minority groups, including 22 African Americans, the most in any one class in the Academy’s history.

“The Class of 2021 has led the corps during a very challenging time,” Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Bill Kelly stated. “I am confident they are fully prepared to graduate and serve our nation as officers in the U.S. Coast Guard.”

The new officers will begin to serve under various leaders in the Coast Guard beginning next month.

“Cadets, you knew when you chose the Academy you were choosing a more difficult path than some of your high school classmates,” Biden said. “You were signing up for the honor of service, and the additional responsibilities that go with it. 

“But I hope today you take the time to reflect on how much all of the hard work and extra — extra effort you engaged in was worth,” he continued. “And I hope that you take immense pride — immense pride in all that time at the Academy and all the Academy has given to you.”

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