A touching photo captured the raw emotion of graduation for a Haiti-born cadet, who says he never thought he would fulfill his American dream.
In a picture shared on the United States Military Academy at West Point social media pages, tears stream down 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache’s face as he stands alongside his peers at a graduation ceremony on May 21.
Idrache, who knew only basic English when he came to the United Sates from Port-au-Prince in 2009, wrote on Instagram that he was overcome with emotion during the ceremony.
“I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me,” he wrote.
Idrache said he was blown away by thinking about those who graduated before him.
“Men and women who have preserved the very essence of the human condition stood in that position and took the same oath,” he wrote. “Men who preserved the Union in a dark period of this country’s history. Men who scaled the face of adversity and liberated Europe from fascism and Nazism.”
After moving to the U.S., Idrache became a U.S. citizen, and served with the Maryland Army National Guard for two years, according to a post on the official homepage of the United States Army.
Idrache told Army Sgt. Ryan Noyes that in Haiti people “don’t grow up to be pilots,” because there is little opportunity for fulfilling big dreams.
He told Noyes, that when he filled out his “branch preferences” he thought about his past, and what he wanted to accomplish in the future.
“I asked myself what is one thing I could never be if I didn’t come to West Point, and that’s a pilot,” he said.
In July, Idrache will attend the Aviation Center for Excellence at Fort Rucker in Alabama, and begin the journey to earning his wings.
Idrache, credits his success to his father, who migrated to the United States and saved money until he could send for his family, according to the article.
In the Instagram post, Idrache notes that he is humbled by the support following the photo and looks forward to continuing the tradition of service.
“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.
SOURCE: USA Today – Mary Bowerman