UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden thanks Air Force Academy graduates for choosing ‘service over self’; he stumbles after speech

Jun 1, 2023, 10:44 AM | Updated: 2:22 pm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — stumble onstage after handing out diplomas to graduates.

“Graduates, you made a noble choice to lead a life of service,” Biden told more than 900 cadets in remarks on the sun-splashed field at Falcon Stadium in Colorado. “Now you also shoulder a great privilege and a mighty responsibility. Leadership, yeah leadership.”

“In the years ahead, your airmen and guardians are going to look to you for guidance and inspiration because the world is going to get more confusing,” he added. “They’ll put their trust in you. You, in turn, must strive to always be worthy of their confidence.”

Near the end of the ceremony, the 80-year-old president turned to walk across the stage and tripped. He was helped up by an Air Force officer as well as two members of his U.S. Secret Service detail. Onlookers, including some members of the official delegation on stage, looked over in concern before Biden returned to his seat.

As he got back on his feet, Biden pointed to the place on stage where he lost his balance. “He’s fine,” tweeted Ben LaBolt, the White House communications director. “There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.”

During his speech, the president talked about how the U.S. had rallied Western nations to stand behind Ukraine against Russia and efforts to enhance deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region.

He also expressed confidence that Sweden will become a NATO member.

Sweden and Finland, both historically unaligned militarily, sought NATO membership after being rattled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But Turkey, a NATO member, blocked both countries from joining the military alliance before agreeing to membership for Finland while continuing to object to Sweden.

But Biden said Sweden’s NATO membership “will happen. I promise you.”

The academy graduates will become second lieutenants in either the Air Force or Space Force. Biden said they made up the most diverse graduating class in the academy’s history and he called on them to “root out the scourge of sexual assault and harassment in the military.”

Biden also said they will need the qualities of resilience, creativity, endurance and commitment that they learned during four years of training at the academy — learning that was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic — to deal with a range of global challenges. He said the challenges ranged from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and America’s rivalry with China “to a whole hell of a lot in between.”

He also cited the threat of climate change and the growing use of artificial intelligence.

“Never forget the sacred oath you swear, and the mission you serve is something far, far greater than any person or president,” Biden said. “It’s our Constitution, it’s our country and it’s our enduring American values.”

After speaking, Biden participated in the presentation of diplomas, exchanging salutes and handshakes with each graduate as they were called to the stage and their loved ones cheered from the stands.

The ceremony was capped by an aerial salute to the graduates by the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, flying over Falcon Stadium. Biden met with some of the pilots Wednesday after he arrived at Peterson Space Force Base.

___

Associated Press writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

Pursuit of Milwaukee carjacking suspects ends with police shooting 2 teens in stolen vehicle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A police pursuit of carjacking suspects in Milwaukee ended Thursday with police firing into the vehicle and injuring two teens, one of whom was pregnant and lost her baby, Milwaukee police said. Officers tried to stop the stolen vehicle just before 2:30 p.m. on Interstate 43 north of Milwaukee. The pursuit ended […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

ARCO, Idaho (AP) — Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said. The crash was reported at about 12:30 p.m. in an area covered by sage and grass near the airport […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Seattle police officer fired for off-duty racist comments

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer was fired for calling his Chinese American neighbor racist and sexist slurs while off duty in 2022, according to a news report. Officer Burton Hill was fired in May, The Seattle Times reported. The termination stemmed from an altercation with his neighbor, Zhen Jin, over the disposal of […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court panel refuses to delay Trump ally Steve Bannon’s 4-month contempt prison sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Thursday rejected longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon’s bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol attack. Bannon is supposed to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed in helicopter crash in Washington state, authorities say

BLUESTEM, Wash. (AP) — Two men died in a helicopter crash in eastern Washington state, authorities said. Lincoln County Fire District 6 Chief Brandon Larmer told KREM-TV that the helicopter had two people aboard when it crashed Wednesday afternoon. The men who died were identified Thursday as 68-year-old Ryan Sandvig, of Spokane, and 63-year-old Mark […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their price takes central role at bribery trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors showed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday multiple instances when he researched the value of gold as he tried to help a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and cash. The evidence about the Democrat’s online searches was prominently displayed to a New […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Biden thanks Air Force Academy graduates for choosing ‘service over self’; he stumbles after speech