(UnitedVoice.com) – The next West Point graduation ceremony will make history. For the first time ever, the commencement speech to the newly commissioned officers will be given by a woman. However, not all the cadets are happy about it — because the woman in question is Vice President Kamala Harris.
🇺🇸The White House announced today that Vice President of the United States of America Kamala Harris will serve as commencement speaker at the USMA’s Class of 2023 graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 27. For official press release: https://t.co/l7lXTDzk11 #vp pic.twitter.com/eXzpzPQbqe
— U.S. Military Academy at West Point (@WestPoint_USMA) May 10, 2023
On May 27, the US Military Academy’s Class of 2023 will graduate, receive their commissions and become officers in the US Army. The highlight of the graduation ceremony is the commencement speech, always given by a high-profile speaker. Vice presidents have traditionally given some of those speeches; last year, Harris gave the commencement speech at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This year, President Biden will speak at the Air Force Academy, and Harris will address the West Point graduates.
When West Point’s cadets heard Harris would be the top guest at their graduation, reactions were mixed. One took to social media to call the news “amazing,” saying that they’ll get to “witness history” as the first woman to be vice president also becomes the first woman to give the Academy’s commencement speech. Another, apparently less impressed, said, “Yay! The most unpopular VP in history is gonna come speak to us at graduation.” West Point’s staff are taking a more positive tone, with the Superintendent, Lt Gen Steven W Gilland, saying the Academy is looking forward to her “inspiring remarks.”
While most US Army officers go through a 12-week course at the Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, or are commissioned through an ROTC program, the US Military Academy is a more prestigious way to earn a commission. Cadets spend four years studying for a bachelor’s degree alongside their military training. Around 45 academic majors are available, and the Academy, located at West Point, New York, has been coeducational since 1976. Still, it’s been operating since 1802, and up to now, no woman has given the commencement speech to a graduating class. That’s about to change.
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