He was an immigrant from Haiti who earned his citizenship and served two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, and now he is a graduate of the nation's most prestigious military school, West Point Academy.
His name is 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache, and the picture of his tear-stained face has now gone viral. Many are responding to his accomplishment of graduating in the top 25 of his class and how he took the legal route to become a U.S. citizen.
Idrache responded to the outpouring of support on Facebook, writing:
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.
He later wrote on an Instagram post of his photo:
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 …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.
[Third] 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.
Idrache is leaving West Point to report to flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
H/T Washington Post
*Photo screencaptured from West Point's Instagram page. Original photo by Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant