Via The Line Is Here, we have photos of President Bush’s appearance as the graduation speaker at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy when I was in high school. My father was career Air Force (enlisted), and I had the idea that I wanted to be a pilot. As things worked out, I went to Annapolis and eventually served on a submarine, but I got to stay in the dorm one weekend when I was part of the contingent that attended an away Navy-Air Force football game. That’s a somewhat-amusing story I haven’t thought of in years; maybe I’ll tell it sometime.
Graduation from a service academy is a pretty exciting occasion. Apart from throwing the hats in the air, which is common to all of the academies, I don’t know what traditions USAFA has concerning graduation. Navy has a number of them, one of them being to give a dollar to the first person who salutes you after you’re commissioned. I still remember Gary Bennett standing up in the middle of the seating area of the field and saluting John Theeuwen. John had selected the Marines as his service option, and the Marines were commissioned first during the ceremony.
Be that as it may, the Daily Mail staff reporter who wrote the article considers it to be “bizarre” behavior on the part of President Bush, but I think it’s great. These young people are celebrating a major accomplishment in their lives, and they’ll have the memories of the president “letting down his hair” and joining in their celebration for the rest of their lives. I’m certain GWB got a kick out of it, too.
The speaker at my graduation was Nelson Rockefeller, who was vice president at the time. I have no distinct memory of anything he said or did at graduation, although I do recall one of my classmates doing a back somersault off the front of the podium. My main memory of “Rocky” himself involve the stories about his death. What is it about New York politicians, anyway?