What Caused This Proud Soldier to Cry During Graduation Is What the American Dream’s All About

Alix Idrache* graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point this week.

Two mornings after graduation, however, he awoke to find himself all over social media. A photo taken at the ceremony was quickly going viral.

He posted the following comment:


His comment reads:

“I woke up this morning and found my face all over Facebook and with it myriad of amazing comments about my accomplishments. I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.”

The photo that started it all was taken by Army Staff Sergeant Vito T. Bryant and shared by the United States Military Academy:

Idrache took a moment to comment on the photo on the Instagram page:

“I want to thank everyone for your kind and thoughtful comments on this picture. SSG Bryant captured a moment that I will never forget. At this moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions.

Three things came to mind and led to those tears. The first is where I started. I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me.

The second is where I am. Men and women who have preserved the very essence of the human condition stood in that position and took the same oath. 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. Women like CPT Griest, LT Haver, MAJ Jaster who rewrote the narrative and challenged the status quo to prove themselves worthy of being called Rangers.

The third is my future. Shortly after leave, I will report to FT. Rucker to start flight school. 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.

To me, that is the greatest honor. Once again, thank you.”

Independent Journal Review contacted Idrache for additional comments, and asked what it was that had inspired him to serve in the U.S. Army. He answered:

“After signing up for selective service, I started receiving pamphlets from the Navy and Army National Guard. There was the promise of free college, which was very intriguing.

More importantly, there was the image of the American soldier that I’ve always had and I was excited to become one. There was often US military presence when I was growing up and I was always infatuated by the soldiers.

After enlisting, it became more than a path to a college education but an opportunity to fight for a powerful idea. I may be naive or idealistic, but I find this a very noble calling.

When I was growing up, Haiti had to be demilitarized because the army was committing atrocities and it was corrupt. I’m not saying this army is perfect and it has certainly endured some tough times with integration and the post Vietnam era.

However, knowing that there are millions of men and women who are willing to give their most precious gift because they swear to protect and defend an idea, is very appealing to me.”

West Point graduates like Idrache leave the Academy as commissioned 2nd Lieutenants, and owe the Army at least five years of service. All three of the women who graduated Army Ranger School – CPT Kristen Griest, 1LT Shaye Haver and MAJ Lisa Jaster – were also USMA graduates.

*Idrache clarified that his views do not represent those of the United States Military Academy, the United States Army, or the Department of Defense.

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