The Air Force Academy is graduating nearly 1,000 cadets Thursday, hoping that weather and the logistics of President Donald Trump's appearance play in its favor. The graduation ceremonies were scheduled to kick off at 10:30 a.m., but were delayed nearly an hour.
The motorcade escorting the president from Peterson Air Force Base to the academy and the flock of attendees will snarl traffic Powers Boulevard from Peterson's west gate, Fountain Boulevard from Powers to Interstate 25 and I-25 from Fountain to the Academy.
Trump was widely expected to address his desire for a new Space Force in his speech. That proposal is now being debated in Congress and would have a big impact in Colorado Springs, which is home to Air Force Space Command and military units that control most of the Defense Department’s satellites.
The Air Force Thunderbirds also will make their annual graduation appearance, flying over Falcon Stadium at about 2:30 p.m. as cadets throw their hats skyward.
If all goes as planned, the graduation could be spared of bad weather. The National Weather Service predicted mostly sunny skies in the morning with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms mainly after 3 p.m. at the academy.
For more of The Gazette's coverage of this year's graduation: