State News

Biden to WFU graduates: 'History is yours to bend'

Posted May 18, 2009

— Vice President Joe Biden said that graduates of Wake Forest University should use the change and challenges in present-day America to shape history.

"This really is your moment. History is yours to bend. Imagine what you can do," the vice president urged the 1,800 members of 167th graduating class from the private liberal-arts university in Winston-Salem.

Biden urges WFU graduates to shape future Biden urges WFU graduates to shape future

Biden, the first sitting vice president to speak at at Wake Forest's commencement, served as a replacement for the graduating class' first choice of speaker, journalist Tim Russert. The long-time host of NBC's "Meet the Press" died June 13, 2008, of a heart attack.

Biden speaks at Wake Forest graduation Web only: Biden speaks at Wake Forest graduation

Read the full text of Biden's remarks.

Biden urged the graduates to face challenges – such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy, education, health care and global warming – in "a world of anxiety and uncertainty."

"No graduating class chooses the world into which they graduate. Each graduating class faces unique challenges; each graduating class enters history that has been written for them," Biden said.

"Your class is no different. What is different is your chance to take history into your own hands and write it large," he said.

The vice president compared the situation facing the Class of 2009 to that which faced him when he graduated from law school in the late 1960s – but said this year's crop of graduates have much greater opportunities.

"Your charge is not restore but to renew," Biden said.

James Barrett, a history major, said he has plans to shape America's future. He will join the Navy after graduation and wants eventually to work to help fix Social Security's financial problems.

"I have a father who's almost Social Security age, and I feel like for our generation, there's no security net. We need to look at alternatives or revamp the whole program," Barrett said.

For other graduates their challenges for the future begin with finding a job.

"A lot of my friends don't have jobs. For me, I have an internship that will hopefully turn into a job," graduate Alex Mentel said. "I'm thankful to have that."

Biden concluded by describing a future he urged the graduates to create.

"Imagine a country where every single person has a fighting chance – a country that once again leads the world by the power of example, not the example of our power," he said. "Graduates, that's all within our power."


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  • james27613 May 18, 2009

    With the amount of money the US owes, why waste more money to
    fly the President, VP and First Lady to these schools ?

    Change is all we are going to be left with......

  • CrewMax May 18, 2009

    I think he meand "the truth" is yours to bend.

  • bluewind May 18, 2009

    Oh this is RICH!!!! History is yours to BEND? Obama/Biden, change we can all believe in...yeah right...

  • Steve Crisp May 18, 2009

    ""Imagine a country where every single person has a fighting chance"

    That would be called America. Where everyone is entitled to a free 12 years of education, the knowledge of what it takes to not get pregnant as an unwed teen, the ability to say no to drugs, and the free will not to commit crimes.

    If you want to ignore those proscriptions and free offers, then yes, you will be fighting for the remainder of your entire life.

  • Steve Crisp May 18, 2009

    Uh Mr. Vice President,

    History is not designed to bend. It is designed to be discovered and interpreted. The future is mallable, however, dependent on what one does with the options one is presented with.

    Of course, leftists would not understand that concept since they live their lives in a state where historical revision is not only acceptable, but mandated.

  • strawberrysw4 May 18, 2009

    affirmativediversity: I think some people just refuse to believe it is "socialism". Those benefiting from it, welcome it.

  • affirmativediversity May 18, 2009

    OH and RedKing:

    The phrases in the same sentences...nice try dude...but that must be the moderator (or a pc program thing) because I wrote SEPARATE AND SPACED sentences.

  • Ripcord May 18, 2009

    RedKing said: "Until the government abolishes private property, collectivizes all the agriculture, and nationalizes ALL major industries and banks....rants about "OMG! SOCIALISM!" are pretty much ridiculous."

    Really? What if the gov't takes strong steps in that direction as this Administration has already done? Is it still too early to protest? How much more should we allow before its OK, in your mind, to raise objections about creeping Socialism?

  • affirmativediversity May 18, 2009


    Name one country with a (how did you put it) PROGRESSIVE TAX SCHEME that you DO NOT consider "SOCIALIST"?? I'm beginning to believe that you libs don't actually know the meaning of either SOCIALIST or PROGRESSIVE...duh!

    Next, you need to contact your local department of Ag for those new rules coming down the pike. They are intrusive and will, pretty much eliminate small farms because they will be unable to afford the costs of the beaurocratic oversight.

    Lastly, did you realize that Obama/Emmanuel Inc. BOUGHT WITH TAXPAYER DOLLARS a CONTROLLING SHARE OF AIG? How about that little matter of STRONG ARMING BANK OF AMERICA? Oh gosh, maybe you forgot about Obama/Emmanuel FIRING GM's CEO or DEMANDING REPRESENTATION ON CHRYSLER's BOARD. Should I go on...because there are lots more examples?

    You can bury your head in the sand if you want BUT I know, first hand, what it is like to live in one of those "progressive" SOCIALIST countries!

  • discowhale May 18, 2009

    It's amazing how the VP walks with one foot in his mouth, shows incredible balance.

    And as to whiny losers, why should anyone listen to the opinions of whiny winners?