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Reagan Lauds Patriotism of Pentagon Medical School Graduates

May 17, 1987|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — President Reagan saluted 155 graduates of the Pentagon's medical school Saturday as products of the new patriotism sweeping the country since he took office.

Addressing graduation ceremonies for the 10-year-old Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences--the military's medical school--Reagan said the Bethesda, Md., school "is helping our military become, in medicine as in so many areas, the best it's ever been."

Dismisses Role of Economy

Reagan, who donned an academic gown and saluted the graduates, dismissed comments that the recruit pool was rising in quality because of a weak economy.

"Today, a greater proportion of Americans is at work than ever before in our history, and yet we're continuing to get the best recruits," he said in ceremonies at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. " . . . It has something to do with patriotism, service. It's again a noble thing to serve in the cause of freedom and the defense of liberty around the world."

Citing the military's historic fight against disease and pioneering methods of treatment of traumatic injuries and burns, Reagan said: "In field after field, America's doctors in uniform have pushed forward the battle lines of medical treatment, even while under fire.

"You prepared yourselves to treat patients anywhere in the world, under any circumstance, because yours is the only medical school in America that trains physicians to be ready for duty on the bottom of the ocean or on the surface of the moon and any place in between."

In other addresses at commencement exercises Saturday:

--The Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan, who developed the anti-apartheid Sullivan Principles, said in a speech during graduation ceremonies at West Virginia State College that he plans to call for the total withdrawal of American companies from South Africa. Sullivan, of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, also announced plans for a total boycott of South Africa.

"If by May 31 there is no change, I will call for all American companies to leave South Africa and for a total embargo of that country," he said, adding that he saw no alternative to force the white-controlled government to change.

Sullivan has asked companies to change business policies in South Africa to help provide opportunities for blacks.

--Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) told graduating students at Fredonia State College in western New York state that the authors of the U.S. Constitution saw the need to guard against such things as the Iran- contra affair, in which money was diverted to Nicaraguan rebels despite a congressional ban on such aid.

"What we see in this sad and sordid story of the Iran-contra affair is an effort to avoid those constitutional arrangements and this always fails," he said.

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