WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris had another success for the first woman on Friday when she addressed the U.S. Naval Academy’s graduating class and became the first female speaker. In almost 175 years of school history
The vice president’s speech focuses on some of the most pressing challenges facing the Biden administration – such as the coronavirus epidemic, climate change, and increasingly complex cyber security threats – events in which she It is called a “warning shot”, which requires trained soldiers to counter.
“Hackers can block the entire coastal fuel supply,”; said Mr Harris. “A country’s carbon emissions can threaten the sustainability of the entire world. This is the era in which we are in warships – and it is not like any age before.
The vice president’s speech at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Was her first focus on the military and came as Biden’s administration accelerated the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan ahead of the Sept. 11 deadline set by President Biden in April.
Ms Harris said she was the last in the room before the president decided to pull soldiers from the country nearly two decades after they were first deployed.
Harris told her graduate that on September 11, 2001, the terrorist attack “shaped your whole life and shaped our entire country.” She said the plague had similarly redefined American lives.
“If we weren’t clear before, we already know the world is connected. Our world is interdependent And our world is fragile. “
The President and Vice President gave inaugural speeches for the circular service institution, and Ms. Harris was the first to return to the Naval Academy since President Donald J. Trump. Trump took the stage in 2018 and announced that after his election The United States has been “Respect again”
While Mr Trump is concerned with the military gaining respect and fear from enemies around the world – he told graduates in 2018 that the military is “the most powerful and legitimate force in the world.” – Current management has emphasized what Mr. Biden He said it over and over again: He believed that democracy was at a turning point.
“There is no class that will choose the world in which he graduates,” Biden told Coast Guard graduates this month. People who have walked in these halls before “
The visit of the PM. MP Harris is meant to signal that the current White House relationship with the military has changed since the Trump era in ways that go beyond her words: when she arrived at Miss Annapolis. Harris has placed flowers at Senator John McCain’s grave. The Republican in Arizona, although he had already died. But they are often the target of Mr Trump. Mr McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, endorsed Biden in the 2020 election and she is considering ambassador for the World Food Program in Rome.
Harris also referred to the Biden administration’s efforts to vaccinate young people: “You guys roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated,” she told a group of non-masked graduates. ”
Ms. Harris, the first woman and black vice president, wasn’t the only one to make history at the Naval Academy on Friday. Among the graduates at the graduation ceremony was Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber, the first black woman in the institution’s history to serve as the commander of the brigade.
Midshipman Barber of Lake Forest, Illinois, wears a distinctive 6-stripe pattern on her uniform and is responsible for the daily activities of the brigade, including the training of other sailors.
A pair of Midshipman Barber’s shoulder boards are on display in Ms. Harris’ ceremonial office, according to a senior aide to the vice president. Mr Harris and The Boatman talked about a private zoom call recently and complimented each other for being the first black woman in their role.
“You might be the first to do a lot of things,” Mr Harris told the Marine, following an assistant who shared their conversation, “but make sure you’re not the last.”
It’s only 46 years since women were allowed to enroll in the Institute of Service and Midshipman Barber was the 16th woman to serve as Brigade Commander. The first was the central frigate Juliane Gallina, who led the corps in the fall of 1991, when women were still prohibited from flying warplanes or serving aboard warships at sea. School records show Miss Gallina retired from the Navy as commander.
“You are the most idealistic person,” Mr Harris told the crowd. “You are the embodiment of American ambition. So hold on to that. “
John Ismay Contributing reporting