One cadet could not hold back his tears at West Point’s commencement ceremony last weekend.
The photo – of 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache and taken by Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant – went viral on social media for obvious reasons.
The Washington Post reports that Idrache is a native of Haiti who immigrated to the United States, earned his U.S. citizenship, and worked his way through one of the nation’s top military schools.
On West Point’s Instagram page, Idrache explained why he was crying.
“Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” he wrote. “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… The third is my future. Shortly after leave, I will report to FT. Rucker [Fort Rucker, Alabama] to start flight school. Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words.”
He went on to write, “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,” Idrache wrote. “To me, that is the greatest honor.”