Obama had plenty of support among the thousands at West Point's Michie Stadium on May 22nd, and the cadets would certainly render only respect to their Commander in Chief, but many among us discussed how we would stand for Obama out of respect for the office of the President, but we would be hard pressed to applaud, and, indeed, there was little call for applause.
For starters, Obama's speech went on too long, especially as we assume it was his late arrival that set the whole ceremony back by almost 20 minutes. While one can probably find the speech somewhere on the internet, it's hardly worth the time. After briefly recognizing the graduating class and pandering to the feminists by crowing about the fact that the two top-ranked cadets in the class were females, Obama launched into what was essentially a campaign speech and worse. In front of 1,000 soon-to-be newly-commissioned 2nd Lieutenants, Obama proceeded to talk about the importance of everything but soldiering. He waxed on about diplomacy, internationalism and the contribution that all Americans need to make to the world's future. If I'm not mistaken, he even covered the environment.
Obama, so out of touch and disdainful of all things military and manly, couldn't have provided a lower point to the day, but then again, the day offered so much more to celebrate than Obama's presence that his contribution or lack thereof faded quickly.
The speech that did leave an impression was given the night before graduation by Chief of Staff of the Army, General Casey. I know that Casey came under fire for his politically correct comment about diversity back during the Fort Hood shootings, but Casey's speech to the cadets at the graduation dinner seemed heartfelt and to the point. He spoke directly to them and he did know that they had been at West Point not to become Peace Corps volunteers or to further women's rights, but to practice the profession of arms. He did mention the words "warrior ethos." He did circulate among the cadets beforehand and his speech lasted all of about 15 minutes.
There were many such memorable moments to this wonderful graduation week.