WEST POINT – The U.S. Military Academy graduated over 1,110 cadets in the Class of 2020 at a commencement ceremony on the Plain at West Point on Saturday, June 13.
As the commencement ceremony took place on the parade field of the Plain, marking only the second time in academy’s history since 1944. After size of the corps doubled in the 1960s, it has been held at Michie Stadium with one exception in 1977 when it was under construction. Prior to being held at Michie Stadium, smaller ceremonies were held at Gillis Fieldhouse and Trophy Point.
President Donald J. Trump served as this year’s commencement speaker and marked his first visit to West Point and his first time as its graduation speaker.
In addressing the Class of 202 Trump said, “Few words in the English language and few places in history have commanded as much awe and admiration as West Point. This premier military academy produces only the best of the best, the strongest of the strong, and the bravest of the brave.”
The Class of 2020 is one of the most resilient classes of graduates to join the “Long Gray Line,” proven tenacity and grit – ready to meet any challenges to serve the nation.
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams in welcoming the Class said, “The Army’s newest second lieutenants, shaped by a rigorous military, physical, academic and character development over a 47-month journey, are ready to lead, fight and win in a COVID-19 environment.”
The President also acknowledged one member of the graduating class, C.J. Morgan, who was killed in an accident. His framed photograph sat in a chair among the rows of graduates.
Trump continued to speak of West Point, its history and those who have attended saying, “It was on this soil that American patriots held the most vital fortress in our war for independence. It was this school that gave us the men who fought and won a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery within one lifetime of our founding. It was the graduates of West Point — towering figures like McArthur, Patton, Eisenhower, and Bradley — who led America to victory over the sinister Nazis and imperial fascists 75 years ago. It was under the leadership of West Point graduates like the legendary General Matthew Ridgway that the Army was at the forefront of ending the terrible injustice of segregation. It was Army strength that held the line against the brutal opposition and oppression from Communism. And it has been thanks to patriots like you that America has climbed to new heights of human achievement and national endeavor.”
Trump also put our enemies on notice saying, “If our people are threatened, we will never, ever hesitate to act. And when we fight, from now on, we will fight only to win. As MacArthur said: ‘In war, there is no substitute for victory.’”
While the president was speaking at West Point, a number of protesters gathered outside the gates in Highland Falls to express their displeasure with him.