Vice President Kamala Harris evoked D-Day, as well as the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, as she commended graduates from the U.S. Air Force Academy on Thursday.

Harris’ remarks about D-Day came just days before the 80th anniversary of the seminal World War II operation. On June 6, 1944, the U.S. and its allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, leading to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi German rule and eventually the Allied powers’ victory in the war.

The vice president said “that shining moment of Allied bravery and sacrifice [was] made possible because of America's airpower in the months leading up to the landings.”


What You Need To Know

  • Vice President Kamala Harris evoked D-Day, as well as the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, as she commended graduates from the U.S. Air Force Academy on Thursday

  • Harris’ remarks about D-Day came just days before the 80th anniversary of the seminal World War II operation

  • The vice president said D-Day was "made possible because of America's airpower in the months leading up to the landings"

  • “Eighty years ago, over the beaches of Normandy, America won control of the skies, and we have kept it ever since"

“It was our pilots, our planes, and our air crews that knocked the enemy from the sky,” Harris said at the graduation ceremony held at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “It was America's forces in the air that bombed train tracks and fuel depots to prevent Nazi reinforcements from reaching the frontlines and helped defeat tyranny and fascism in Europe.

“Eighty years ago, over the beaches of Normandy, America won control of the skies, and we have kept it ever since.”

Harris said today the United States’ allies are still in awe and its adversaries are still in fear over its dominance in the air.

That dominance, she said, can be seen on NATO’s Eastern Flank, where U.S. forces are stationed to prevent Russia’s war against Ukraine from spreading elsewhere. In the Indo Pacific, U.S. military presence “ensures a free and open region,” Harris said. And last month, the U.S. Air Force helped repel an attack by Iran on Israel, the vice president noted.

Harris said “America's national security and global stability depend on our strength in the Sky and Space” and that “our nation is counting on you to preserve and extend that strength.”

“Wherever you go from here, you are ready,” the vice president told the graduates. “And America's security relies on you. I know you will make our country proud.”

Each year, the Air Force Academy’s graduating class chooses someone who exemplifies the type of person the class wishes to emulate. This year, graduates selected Maj. LeRoy Homer, a 1987 graduate. Homer was the first officer of United Airlines Flight 93 that was hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. Passengers fought back, forcing the terrorists to crash the plane in a Pennsylvania field before it could reach a federal building in Washington, D.C. Everyone on board was killed.

Harris invited Homer’s wife and daughter to be her guests at the graduation ceremony.

“Homer was a true American hero who gave his life to protect our country,” Harris said.