Defense Secretary Mattis at West Point graduation: 'We Americans are not made of cotton candy'

Julie Jacobson/AP

WEST POINT, N.Y. — The deaths of 22 people at a concert hall in Manchester, England, this week shows the need for institutions like the U.S. Military Academy to produce soldiers willing to battle those who would commit terrorism, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday.


"Manchester's tragic loss underscores the purpose of your years of study and training at this elite school," Mattis told the 950 graduating cadets at West Point. "We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of normal. This is not normal."

Twenty-two people were killed in a bombing at a concert hall in Manchester on Monday. Authorities say the 22-year-old bomber who struck the Ariana Grande concert was known to security services because of his radical views and had strong links to Libya.

"You will drive home a salient point," Mattis told the cadets. "That free men and women will volunteer to fight, ethically and fiercely, to defend our experiment that you and I call, simply, 'America.'"

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