June 23, 2024

VP Harris to address US Air Force Academy graduates

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a campaign event in Elkins Park, Pa., May 8, 2024. Vice President Harris will speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on Thursday, May 30, in Colorado, her first address at the ceremony that launches cadets into the Air Force or Space Force with pomp and the roar of jets. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

By JESSE BEDAYN Associated Press/Report for America

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris will speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on Thursday in Colorado, her first address at the ceremony that launches cadets into the Air Force or Space Force with pomp and the roar of jets.

President Joe Biden spoke last year to graduates, who will become second lieutenants, thanking them for choosing “service over self,” and noting the challenges ahead for the country and the world, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to America’s rivalry with China. After greeting graduates with salutes and handshakes, the president took a spill on stage, later saying he’d tripped over a sandbag. He was uninjured.

Harris will speak in Falcon Stadium, which can host upwards of 46,000 people, during an election year, as details of a debate between Harris and Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-chosen running mate are being negotiated.

The commencement in Colorado Springs, Colorado, about an hour’s drive south of Denver, will wrap with graduates pitching their caps into the air as the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, zip past overhead.

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the ceremony in 2020, when the event was scaled down to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.