The class of 2012 has the notable distinction of being the first to enter a post-college world in which Osama bin Laden is dead, there is no longer a chance of deployment to Iraq, and an end is in sight for the Afghanistan War, President Obama told graduating Air Force Academy cadets.
There is a "new feeling about America," Obama said.
The president addressed a packed Falcon Stadium Wednesday morning.
"You distinguished yourselves before you set foot on the Terrazo," the president told the class of 2012. "Cadets, this is the day you finally become officers of the finest Air Force in the world."
The strength of America's armed forces was a theme Obama returned to again and again, asserting that cadets were becoming a part of the "finest military the world has ever known."
Though a largely optimistic message, the president cautioned that the country could not let their guard down.
"We still face very serious threats," Obama said. "We need you to be ready."
But nothing, he said, is insurmountable.
"No challenge is too great, no mission is too hard. The spirit that guides your class never falters, never fails."
"There were moments. Things get down sometimes and you wonder when your junior year rolls around if you can make it or not, but you stick with it and I'm glad I did," 2Lt. Matt Richardson, a new graduate, said after the ceremony.
Obama also touched on certain themes pertinent to his re-election bid, telling graduates that he intended on putting more money into education, science, manufacturing and innovation even while slashing at the nation's growing debt.
The president landed at Peterson Air Force Base aboard Air Force One at approximately 8:36 a.m. He greeted several people on the tarmac before getting into the presidential limo and departing for the Academy.
While the motorcade crossed Colorado Springs, several intersections were closed and traffic was delayed. The same situation occurred after the President leaves Falcon Stadium at the conclusion of his address.