President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address at the 2021 U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London today, telling the graduates that he’s never been more optimistic about this country. He told the men and women graduating from the Coast Guard Academy that the country needs them.
During his speech, he congratulated the graduates and also commended the parents.
“You raised these cadets to be fierce patriots,” Biden said, then told the cadets to stand up and salute their parents.
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This class experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, which started to affect the country early in 2020, and Biden acknowledged the challenges that posed and commended the academy for going above and beyond the call of duty to keep the academy open and make the environment as safe as it could be.
"What you all achieved together embodies the Coast Guard creed -- always ready," Biden said.
The president added that the cadets found ways to keep Coast Guard Academy traditions alive amid the pandemic and maybe even formed new ones.
He commended them for how they worked together and said the pandemic made it more important. Being together to celebrate graduation was a victory in and of itself, the president said.
There is not a single thing this country cannot do when we work together, Biden told the graduates.
Biden said around one-third of the class is women and the country needs more women at the highest levels of command.
After speaking, Biden handed diplomas to the graduates.
The ceremonies are not open to the public, but anyone looking to watch can do so, virtually, here.
Captain Rick Wester, of the United States Coast Guard Academy said people who arrived to attend the graduation ceremony either had to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
New London Mayor Michael Passero said police and the fire department worked closely with the Secret Service and coordinate the trip.
Those travelling in the area today should plan ahead due to the several parking restrictions in place, said police officials.
No parking will be allowed on River Ridge Road, Deshon Street, Nameaug Avenue, Oneco Avenue, Farnsworth Street, Winchester Road, and Uncas Ave. beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. They said no parking signs will be posted.
The parking restrictions will remain in effect until later in the day at the discretion of the police department.
Police said parking tickets will be issued and vehicles will be towed.
Riverside Park will be closed to the public beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday until later in the day. When it reopens will be to the discretion of the police department.
President Biden Comes to CT for Coast Guard Academy Graduation
Police said members of the public will be allowed to assemble at the following locations:
- McKinley Park, at the corner of Williams Street and Crystal Avenue
- The grass parcel on Williams Street, just past the overpass (Williams/Briggs streets)
- The grass parcel across the street from the main gate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in front of the fence. Individuals will not be permitted to congregate past the main gate.
Social distancing and masking measures will be in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of guests will be limited.