President Kennedy Speaks at West Point

June 6, 1962 - President Kennedy told the graduates at the Military Academy in West Point today that the problems confronting the nation required them to be much more than professional soldiers. They must, he said, be diplomats as well. Addressing the 598 cadets about to receive their commissions, the President said that the next decade would offer them a greater opportunity “for the defense of freedom than this academy’s graduates have ever had.” After the President spoke, the class president, George Wilhelm Kirschenbauer, informed him that he had been made an honorary member of the class and gave him the class ring. This is the first time a commencement speaker has been so honored.

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