'Truth Will Set Us Free,' Tillerson Tells VMI Grads

By: 
Ed Smith

 

                 “Do right every time, no matter who is watching,” former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admonished cadets in a commencement address Wednesday morning at Virginia Military Institute in which he stressed the importance of personal integrity and truthfulness.

“A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not, and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America's future be fact-based – not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges,” declared Tillerson.

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth,” he told the gathering at Cameron Hall, “or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no long grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”

The former CEO of ExxonMobile who was Secretary of State under President Donald Trump until being fired by tweet in March didn't mention Trump or anyone else in the administration by name in his remarks.

In what was the largest graduating class in VMI's history, 373 cadets were awarded bachelor's degrees. VMI Superintendent Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III noted that 213 of the graduates, or 60 percent of class members, are being commissioned into the armed forces this week.

“Be civil and grow in wisdom,” said Peay to the institute's latest graduates. “Hold onto the concept of honor – the very bedrock of VMI.”

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