A powerful photograph encapsulating one graduate’s overwhelming feelings of accomplishment and gratitude has emerged online and it has gone viral.
The image shows Second Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache, who was born in Haiti, at his graduation from West Point with tears streaming down his face.
Idrache, who graduated at the top of his class in physics, was among 953 cadets who received a degree that day. And while the image is incredibly poignant, the story behind it is even more touching.
“At this moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” Idrache explained in a comment on Instagram. “The first is where I started … The second is where I am … The third is my future.”
Idrache added that “while growing up in Haiti, he saw U.S. forces on humanitarian missions.” It was then he began dreaming of becoming a pilot, according to a press release.
“People where I’m from don’t grow up to be pilots right? They don’t dream of flying a helicopter, that’s not something you do,” Idrache said. “You don’t just say I’m going to be a pilot and make it happen. There’re no aviation, there’re no helicopters, no flight schools. There’re none of that.”
In 2009, the recent West Point grad came to the U.S, following his father’s migration to the states in search of better opportunities for his family. Idrache ended up joining the Maryland National Guard and left to attend West Point in 2012. He is now the Maryland Army National Guard’s first West Point graduate.
“Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words. I could not help but be flooded with emotions knowing that I will be leading these men and women who are willing to give their all to preserve what we value as the American way of life,” he wrote. “To me, that is the greatest honor. Once again, thank you.”
As for the future, Idrache’ll attend the Army Aviation Center for Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in July.
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