BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A day steeped in tradition: more than 1,000 men and women graduated from the United States Naval Academy on Friday.

The midshipmen were commissioned as military officers, with some parting words from Vice President Mike Pence.

This is the 167th class to graduate from the United States Naval Academy, a huge accomplishment for more than one-thousand midshipmen.

“Days like today, you realize it’s worth it,” says U.S. Naval Academy graduate Cabot Bisbee.

Hundreds of midshipmen have now been commissioned as officers; the paramount moment to their academics, athletics, and military training.

“To see four years of hard work come to fruition right now, that’s a dream come true honestly,” says John-Charles Arion, U.S. Naval Academy graduate.

Four years that, for some, have flown by.

“It’s really sad because some of us are going across the country, overseas,” says Taylor Mooers.

“These are the people that I love the most and we’re all going to be across the world,” says Logan Ballard.

“We’ve accomplished a lot here together, but I hope that all of us can really just go out and make our mark as a class,” says Sarita Condie.

Vice President Mike Pence was the honored guest — encouraging a life of leadership.

“Integrity, humility, orientation to authority and self-control are my admonition to you today,” says Vice President Mike Pence.

And as thousands of friends and family paid witness, midshipmen took their oath completing a transformation from freshman plebe to military officer.

“Coming in here as a civilian, sort of not knowing the military role, molding them and shaping them and mentoring them to what they are right now: future leaders,” says Gunnery Sgt. Beth Abbott, Brigade Drill Master.

Our nation’s young military leaders are starting their next chapter.

“I’m going down to Pensacola to learn how to fly,” says Christy Green.

Hats off! And congratulations – to the class of 2017.

These new Navy and Marine Corps officers now move onto their military assignments – most will serve at least five years.

About 35,000 people were expected to attend this years’ ceremony.

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