West Point, N.Y. Vice President Dick Cheney told graduating cadets Saturday that they were beginning military service at a "crucial hour" for a nation still threatened by terrorists.
"The battle of Iraq was a major victory in the war on terror, but the war itself is far from over," Cheney told the 846 graduates of the U.S. Military Academy and their families during commencement exercises.
The vice president told cadets they would enter a modernized military that would continue to aggressively confront threats to this country, as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cheney said the world had changed dramatically since the graduating cadets first reported to West Point in the summer of 1999. He noted two West Point graduates who were killed in Iraq and honored another, Lt. John Fernandez, who lost most of his left foot and his right leg below the knee during fighting near Baghdad. Fernandez, who attended the ceremony, was given a standing ovation.
Cheney told graduates they also may be posted to dangerous places, where "the American uniform will bring fear to the violent and hope to the oppressed."