The President at Coast Guard Academy Commencement: "I’ve Seen Your Devotion to Duty"

The President gave his last beginning Address of the season this afternoon at the U.S Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He spent the bulk of his time walking the graduating class down reminiscence lane of the years of tough training and education they had endured, but first he spoke about his individual experience with the Coast Guard:

I have to say, it is a personal enjoyment to be here, because since the day I took office, the United States Coast Guard has played a special role in my presidency and with my family. I’ve seen the Coast Guard’s accuracy when some of you -- the Class of 2011 -- marched in the parade during my inauguration. You looked pretty good on that day, too. (Laughter.) It was a little colder that day, if you recall. (Laughter.)

I’ve seen your attachment to duty -- all along the Gulf Coast -- when the Coast Guard, including members of this class, worked day and night, tirelessly, as you led the largest ecological cleanup in our nation’s history.

I’ve seen your pride, when I was in, of all places, Afghanistan. I was in Bagram, thanking our troops for their service. And I was giving a shout-out to every service -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. And then, way in the back of the crowd, a voice shouted out: “and Coast Guard!” (Laughter.) There was no ocean in sight. (Laughter and applause.) Not a body of water visible anywhere. (Laughter.) But the Coast Guard was there, portion with honor, as you have in every major disagreement that our nation has ever fought.