ABC News' Anne Marie Dorning reports: After thanking Coast Guard cadets for their service, President Barack Obama received a thank you of his own today.
During his commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., the president briefly referenced Osama Bin Laden as he reminded the assembled crowd of about 1,500 that they should be proud of the “brave military and intelligence personnel who made sure the terrorist leader who attacked us on 9/11 will never do so again.”
According to a pool report, one of the retired officers on stage to present a commission to a relative said to Obama, "Thanks for bin Laden."
In his 20-minute speech, the president praised the graduating class of 229 Coast Guard cadets for choosing a life of service in a branch of the military that is often overlooked. He reminded the audience that it was often Coast Guard personnel who were first on the scene at many of the world’s largest natural disasters, and that their role in protecting the nation’s shores and ports could not be overestimated.
The president added that “even today… the Coast Guard rescues Americans from the surging Mississippi.”
The president spoke before a packed crowd in the Leamy Hall Auditorium on the 100-acre campus nestled on the Thames River in Connecticut.
Calling it a day of “expectations” the president said the nation had high expectations of this graduating class as they fan out across the country to serve and continue the "hard work of protecting our country." No hats were thrown but there were cheers and high fives as the cadets officially became ensigns and received their commissions.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano introduced the president.
Earlier in the day, the president’s arrival at Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, Conn., was delayed by a minute or two as poor weather conditions caused AF1 pilots to miss their first attempt to land at Bradley International Airport. At 9:50 am, as the pilots approached Runway 6, the pilots couldn't see the runway from the altitude required for landing, the officials said. Weather at the time was 800 feet and overcast and visibility was 1.5 miles. After circling around, the plane landed safely on the second try.
Press Secretary Jay Carney, who was on the plane at the time, confirmed the missed landing, though reporters, who were also on the plane, noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
“AF1 did a go-round at Bradley International Airport this morning because of weather. They circled around and landed safely a few minutes later, at 10:05 a.m. The pilot was in the process of landing but due to weather the pilot decided to circle around and then landed the plane, this is a standard and safe procedure,” Deputy Press Secretary Nick Shapiro added.
The president heads to Boston for a couple of fundraising events.
– Anne Marie Dorning