The US Coast Guard Academy will bestow degrees on Wednesday during its 137th commencement exercise.
While Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to deliver the keynote address, security will be tight.
Families were on campus on Tuesday to watch the rehearsal and practice, like the cadets have been doing for the past four years.
The sound of Pomp and Circumstance echoed on the parade lawn of the US Coast Guard Academy in New London on Tuesday morning as graduates rehearsed for Wednesday’s big commencement ceremony.
Security will be tight on campus and off, throughout the region when Vice President Pence arrives to deliver the commencement address to the 137th graduating class of new officers, which begins promptly at 11 a.m.
“How neat to our small town here to have someone so important to our country its really fantastic,” said Megan Durosher.
An Air Force C17 cargo plane loaded with limo’s and the vice president’s advance team landed at Groton-New London airport.
The huge aircraft got some notice.
“The boys saw the plane so we thought we’d come over and check it out and little did we know we had such important people in town very cool,” said Colleen Hebert.
Anytime the White House visits, security is very tight and boat traffic on the Thames River near the academy is suspended.
Traffic on the Gold Star Bridge in both directions on I- 95 is also suspended while the motorcade makes its way to the academy.
Public works crews placed no parking signs on streets around the academy to ensure a safety zone.
“At this time we are unaware of any sort of protest but as with any commencement the Coast Guard Academy main priority is ensuring the safety of visitors that are coming on board and departing the institution,” said Nicole Foguth, of the US Coast Guard.
The city of New London has a very detailed security plan in place for the Vice President’s visit on Wednesday.
Local businesses also prepared for the festivities.
“Whenever there’s an event up there it helps us brings more people to the area,” said George Gianakos, of Mr. G’s, which is less than a mile from the academy.
He said graduation day isn’t too hectic because the events are at the academy, but the days right before the event are busy and very emotional.
“Over the years you get to know them they’re really bright intelligent young people. It’s great to see them stepping up and moving on,” Gianakos said.
He added the fact that the vice president will serve as the commencement speaker will add a little excitement to the area but he says New London is ready, especially after President Trump spoke in the same role last year.
Last year with all the protestors and all the marchers it was a unique experience. Not something you see every day, especially in New London,” he said.
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