President Bush Salutes New Graduates and Officers
Here's what President Bush said to the Class of 2007 at Saint Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA. Of the 400 graduates, five are joining the military:
- - - - - -And that's why it's vital for our country that our young people step forward -- and serve a cause larger than yourselves. When you serve your fellow citizens, you find benefits you'll never imagine. You discover that a caring person is sometimes all it takes for someone to turn their lives around. You see for yourself that kindness and respect make an enormous difference in a person's life. You learn to take the initiative, instead of waiting for a government to step in. You become more aware of others, a better man or woman to your friends and families, a better citizen of your country. You start to put your own difficulties in perspective. And soon you learn a great truth: that you always get more out of service than you give.
Your generation's willingness to serve will define the character of our nation -- and us older folks have good reason to be confident. Americans now in college are more likely to volunteer or become engaged in civic life than previous generations. Here at St. Vincent College, you have learned that service outside the classroom is as important as what you learn inside the classroom. The challenge for you is to keep this up as you begin your new careers, and your new families, and your new lives. So today I ask you to make service more than a line on your resume. Find a need that is not being met. Do your part to fill it -- make a difference to our country.
I'm pleased to see that the Class of 2007 is answering the call. In the graduating class today are five students who have volunteered to wear our nation's uniform. You knew the risks of serving in a time of war, and you have volunteered to accept those risks. You have chosen a noble calling. You will take your place as officers in the finest military the world has ever known. At some point, the lives of other men and women will be in your hands -- and they will need leaders of character and selflessness. As your Commander-in-Chief, I salute you for your service and I ask Almighty God to keep you close as you keep our nation safe. [Applause.]
There are many ways to serve our nation. Across this great land of opportunity we have citizens with great needs. And for every need, there is a path to service.
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Operation Yellow Elephant salutes the five new officers in the Saint Vincent College Class of 2007 and wishes them all the best.
We note, however, that this is the closest President Bush has come to encouraging young adults [healthy heterosexuals 41 and under] to consider volunteering for military service for a time, even if they plan other careers later in life. But he hasn't really done that; the only major change from his June 2005 speech at Fort Bragg is not explicitly mentioning a full military career.
Given Saint Vincent College's close connection to President Bush [its President was Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives], one cannot help but wonder about any effort by the College to encourage its graduating students to consider military service. Here's why:
As the President mentioned, there is a certain proportion of young adults with a propensity to serve, due to patriotism and other, more personal factors. Some students may have had ROTC scholarships; these categories probably overlap. Five out of 400 seems about right.
So, did the college, and the White House, make any other effort to encourage other seniors to consider military service? It doesn't appear so.
Why not? Isn't our nation at war?