Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke to the cadets graduating from the U.S. Military Academy during the academy’s 219th graduation ceremony on Saturday, telling them that their commitment to the U.S. military will help in the fight against terrorism.
Mattis told the cadets that they best represent the United States’ commitment to defend the country against terrorism.
“By the time this class was in first grade classrooms in every state across our union,” he said, “our country had been thrust into a war by maniacs who thought that by hurting us they could scare us. Well, we don’t scare, and nothing better represents America’s awesome determination to defend herself than this graduating class.”
Speaking to a stadium full of 20,000 people and 936 graduating cadets, Mattis said the recent Manchester Arena suicide bomb attack that killed 22 people “underscores the purpose for your years of study and training” at West Point.
“We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of the normal. This is not normal, and each of you cadets graduating today are reinforcing our ranks, bringing fresh vigor,” Mattis said, “renewing our sense of urgency and enhancing the Army’s lethality needed to prove our enemies wrong — dead wrong.”
“You join the ranks of those whose mission is to guard freedom and to protect the innocent from such terror,” Mattis said.
“We Americans are not made of cotton candy,” Mattis added.