The President of the United States arrived in Colorado Springs Wednesday to speak at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. After 981 cadets marched onto Falcon Stadium to cheering crowds, their Commander in Chief rallied the troops who will now defend our country. "Our will is strong and neither Iraq's new leadership, nor the U.S., will be intimidated by thugs and assassins," President George W. Bush said.
Air Force One touched down at Peterson Air Force Base around 9:50 Wednesday morning. Once he arrived, the President took a few minutes to accept a special gift from the Air Force Thunderbirds---an autographed photo. He also talked to members of a small welcoming party, including Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera and Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Originally, the President was scheduled to fly from Peterson to the Academy by helicopter. Instead, a traditional presidential motorcade took him there.
Once at the Academy, President Bush spoke for about 45 minutes. His primary focus---Why America needs to continue to fight the war and why changing the strategy now would only play into the hands of terrorists.
“You worked hard to get to this moment. You survived the “Beast.” After a dose of humor, the graduation speech evolved into more of a lesson on why America has to stay in the war, and why Americans need to be patient with the reconstruction of Iraq. “We will not abandon them to the designs of evil men. We will stand with the people of that region as they seek their future in freedom,” he said.
And to this friendly crowd, the president delivered this simple message to them and to his critics. “We will take the fight to the enemy.”
During his address, President Bush made only one veiled reference to the Academy sex scandal. He thanked the Academy superintendent for restoring honor to the institution.
Another highlight for these graduates is that President Bush stayed to personally congratulate each and every one of them. And after the ceremony, the President got back in his limousine and headed back to Peterson Air Force Base.
Once there, he jumped right out of his car and boarded Air Force One. The President headed back to Washington, D.C. and will leave for Europe later this week. He has an audience with the Pope and will be on-hand to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the Allies’ invasion of Normandy during World War II.
Here is the complete text from President Bush’s Air Force Academy Graduation Address: Click Here.