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PINE NUTS – Secretary Austin Launches Navy’s Generation Z

June 9, 2023 | McAvoy Lane

I love to catch commencement speeches when I can, for oftentimes they hold as much value as the degrees themselves. I’ve delivered a few clunkers myself that were forgettable, and I regret getting those kids off on the wrong foot. But I happened to catch Secretary of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent address at the Navel Academy, and it went into my “Memorable” file as unforgettable. Here are a few of the gems…  

“It is great to be here, even though the first person I met said, ‘Beat Army!’ And it is 

indeed an honor to help welcome the next generation of Sailors and Marines to what is the finest Navy that the world has ever known.Graduates, today belongs to your loved ones too. And let’s give them a round of applause.

You chose to come to this Academy. And despite challenges that nobody imagined, you chose to keep coming back, and to keep pushing, and to keep growing. You know, all those choices add up to character. And all those decisions add up to integrity. And all those deeds add up to leadership. 

You seek wisdom. You practice discipline. You treat others with dignity and respect. And you will defend our democracy with honor, courage, and commitment. Graduates, over the years, I’ve learned that leadership is not just what you do, it’s who you are. And your leadership will be at the very heart of America’s work to forge a more open and more peaceful 21st century.

As President Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.’

Class of 2023: Wherever your career takes you, remind the world of what you stand for, and what America stands for. Honor. Courage. Commitment. Democracy. Liberty. And the rule of law. The lessons of this academy will always steer you true. And when the fog rolls in, let the values that you have learned here be your lighthouse.

Class of 2023: We will all be cheering you on as you make our country stronger, and our democracy deeper, and our world safer. Congratulations. 

May God bless you. May God bless your families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

To my mind, Lloyd Austin is the right man in the right job at the right time. His Z generation graduates are out there on the job right now, and our world is a safer place. I would like to meet the good Secretary and shake his hand. I would also like to ask him why the Marine Corps does not field a football team. I suspect it is because the Marine Corps is all about protecting the country and our allies, and has no time left over for protecting a quarterback. This supposition I hope might elicit a smile from our most capable and good-humored Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

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