US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said his country is committed to fighting terrorism, as “Americans are not made of cotton candy”. The retired four-star Marine general made the remarks on Saturday while talking to the 936 graduating cadets at the football stadium of the US Military Academy, located in West Point, about 96 km north of New York City on the Hudson river, Xinhua news agency reported. “Manchester’s tragic loss underscores the purpose of your years of study and training at this elite school,” Mattis said, referring to Monday’s suicide bombing at a concert hall in Manchester, England, in which 22 people were killed. The so-called Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of normal. This is not normal,” said Mattis, who became Defense Secretary on January 20, hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as President. “You will drive home a salient point,” Mattis said. “That free men and women will volunteer to fight, ethically and fiercely, to defend our experiment that you and I call, simply, ‘America.'” “We Americans are not made of cotton candy. You are a US soldier and you hold the line,” he said to cheering and applause from the graduates.
“Our enemies are watching,” he said. “By your commitment, you will prove the enemy wrong. Dead wrong.” The US Military Academy, simply known as West Point, was founded in May 1802. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,348. Army graduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree and almost all of them are commissioned as second lieutenants in the US Army.