Tis the season for college graduations, and today Vice President Mike Pence addressed the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2017.
Before he began his speech, however, the crowd thrilled to the sight of a Blue Angels flyover. Because what red-blooded American doesn’t feel a knot in their throat when the Blue Angels swoop low overhead?
The Vice President received a standing ovation from the graduating midshipmen, in contrast to the rude treatment he recently received by some students at Notre Dame. He then honored the new officers for their decision to serve the nation. Pence also saluted the great Navy men of the past — men like John Paul Jones, Adm. James Stockdale, and SEAL Michael Murphy. He noted the momentous battles where the Navy and Marine Corps shaped the outcome of war, their names emblazoned around the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
But the Vice President didn’t only look to the past. He also looked to the immediate future of these young officers, and promised them that President Trump “will always have your backs.” Moreover, he announced that “The era of budget cuts of the armed forces is over,” which was welcome news to these young men and women on the cusp of their service to the nation.
I once had the honor of attending a graduation ceremony at USNA, an unforgettable experience. That year was 2005, and I watched as a certain young man became a Navy ensign. The speaker was President George W. Bush, and I can tell you unquestionably that the graduating class and their families loved him.