In his rousing opening address to Harvard graduates, Tom Hanks railed against Americans who “don’t embrace freedom”.

In a keynote address to Harvard University graduates, Tom Hanks argued that Americans who do not embrace liberty, and those who remain indifferent to it, are detrimental to “the creation of a more perfect union.”

On Thursday (May 25), the Oscar-winning actor was invited to bid farewell to over 9,000 graduates at the university’s 372nd inauguration ceremony.

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow welcomed him on stage and referred to him as “Wilson’s best friend, Buzz’s sidekick, Ryan’s savior, America’s dad” before presenting him with a volleyball in tribute to his role in America’s Dad Cast AwYes, where to stay sane, his character talks to an old volleyball player.

During Hanks’ stirring speech, he referred to Harvard’s motto “veritas”, the Latin word for truth.

“For some, the truth is no longer empirical. “It’s not based on data anymore, it’s not based on common sense, it’s not even based on decency,” Hank said.

“Telling the truth is no longer the standard of public service,” he said. “It is no longer the solution to our fears or the guide for our actions.” Truth is now considered malleable, both through opinion and through zero-sum endgames.”

The prolific actor said it gave them a choice. “It’s the same option for all adults who must choose to be one of three types of Americans: those who advocate liberty and liberty for all; those who don’t want it; or those who are indifferent.

“Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others are in the way.

Toward the end of the speech, he made the point clear to a group that included not only undergraduates but also graduates of Harvard University’s junior high schools and junior high schools.

“The responsibility is yours. Our. The effort is optional. But the truth, the truth is sacred. immutable. Carved into the stone and foundation of our republic,” he said.

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Hanks, who received an honorary doctorate, ridiculed his own lack of academic credentials on a stage full of the world’s brightest minds and most accomplished scientists.

“It’s not fair, but please don’t be bitter about that fact,” he said.

“Now, without having done any work, without having spent any time in class, without even having gone to this library once – to have anything to do with Harvard’s senior class, its faculty, or its distinguished alumni – do it I’m so damn fun playing someone who can do that,” he said, referring to his portrayal of the fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon in three films based on Dan Brown’s novels – The da Vinci Code, angels and demons And inferno.

“It’s the way of the world, kids,” Hanks quipped to a roar of laughter.

“May goodness and mercy follow you always,” he concluded, referring to a Bible verse. “All the days of your life. God’s blessing.”

Additional coverage from the Associated Press

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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