This Photo Of A Haitian-Born West Point Graduate Will Put A Lump In Your Throat

Graduation is an emotional time for many of those within the graduating class and their loved ones, typically filled with feelings of unwavering accomplishment and inexplicable joy. A photo taken of West Point graduate, Second Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache, where tears are seen streaming down his face during the military academy’s graduation ceremony, captures those intimate moments perfectly. Idrache explained how he felt in a comment on West Point’s Instagram.

“At this moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Three things came to mind and led to those tears. The first is where I started … The second is where I am … The third is my future.”

The photo has gone viral since it was first posted last Saturday, but Idrache’s story is even more compelling than the image itself. Idrache, who graduated at the top of his class in physics, was born in Haiti and as a child saw U.S forces on humanitarian missions in the country. This inspired him to want to become a pilot, a press release says.

“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. 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.”

Idrache came to the U.S. in 2009, where his father already resided in order to find better opportunities for his family. He joined the Maryland National Guard, and left in 2012 to attend West Point. Now, he is the Maryland National Guard’s first West Point graduate.

The new graduate’s pilot dreams will soon come to fruition as he is set to attend the Army Aviation Center for Excellence in Alabama in July. Humbly basking in his overall gratitude and thanks, he added to his comment on Instagram:

“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.”

(Via Huffington Post)