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President Biden to speak at U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s May 19 commencement

Vice President Joe Biden walks by a cordon of cadets ont he way to the stage at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 132nd commencement (Cloe Poisson/TNS)

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremonies in New London on May 19.

As vice president, Biden traveled to New London to speak to 227 graduating cadets in 2013.

“We are honored to host the Commander-in-Chief as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2021 — the future leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard,” Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Bill Kelly said in a statement. “It will be a memorable event for our community, as well as a great opportunity to showcase the Academy and the city of New London on a national stage.”

Biden will be following in the path of Presidents Donald J. Trump and Barack Obama, who both addressed the graduates. Numerous national figures have delivered the speech through the years, including Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Less well-known figures are sometimes featured, including Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson in 2016.

Presidents and vice presidents traditionally rotate the speeches at the service academies for the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy in Annapolis, Md.; Air Force in Colorado Springs, and Army at West Point, N.Y.

The event is not open to the public, and security will be tight. The crowd is expected to be smaller than usual because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The graduation will be held outdoors on Cadet Memorial Field — a traditional spot that is known for blazing sun in the middle of the day, overlooking the scenic Thames River.

In case of rain, graduation would be moved indoors to Leamy Hall Auditorium, and the crowd would be restricted.

The event will be live-streamed on May 19 at: https://uscga.live/commencement2021

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