The Story Behind the Viral Photo of Haitian-Born West Point Grad Alix Idrache

Source: U.S. Army
Source: U.S. Army

A moving photo of a newly-minted West Point graduate is going viral.

A photo posted by (@) on

Academy photographer Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant caught cadet Alix Idrache in an emotional moment during the commencement ceremony, tears running down the new second lieutenant's face as he graduated from the school on Monday. 

"No greater feeling than that of accomplishment!" the military academy wrote in its caption on Instagram and Facebook.

According to the Hatian-born Idrache, graduating from West Point marked the moment he achieved the elusive American dream. The solider explained his mindset at the time the photo was snapped in the comments of the Instagram post, according to CNN. 

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...

The third is my future. Shortly after leave, I will report to Fort 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.

West Point has come under fire recently for diversity issues on campus, following online criticism and a formal school investigation into a photo of black female cadets posing with their fists raised earlier this month. In the wake of the conflict, alumna Jozlyn McCaw released a series of photos originally taken two years prior showing minority, LGBT and female cadets holding signs explaining their oft-troubled tenure at the school with the hashtag #ITooAmWestPoint.

Source: Jozlyn McCaw

"Despite diversity initiatives, blacks are still underrepresented among military officers, and overrepresented among active duty enlisted members, Department of Defense data show," wrote Mic's Aaron Morrison. "West Point, founded in 1802 in New York state, graduated its first African-American cadet in 1877 and welcomed women in 1976."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

The acquittal in Sylville Smith's death shows that too little changes in Milwaukee, despite protests

The officer that shot Smith will face no repercussions in his death. Historically, few of the city's officers ever have.

These #JusticeforNabra vigils honor the life of Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen

People across the country remember Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim woman who was killed on Sunday.

Trevor Noah says he's been stopped by police "8 to 10" times in his 6 years in the US

Trevor Noah told the 'Daily Show' audience about his experience with police in the wake of the Philando Castile verdict.

Police shooting videos won't save black people

Once again, dashcam video shows the cruel quickness of police violence.

Philando Castile dashcam video released after Officer Jeronimo Yanez acquitted

Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

The acquittal in Sylville Smith's death shows that too little changes in Milwaukee, despite protests

The officer that shot Smith will face no repercussions in his death. Historically, few of the city's officers ever have.

These #JusticeforNabra vigils honor the life of Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen

People across the country remember Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim woman who was killed on Sunday.

Trevor Noah says he's been stopped by police "8 to 10" times in his 6 years in the US

Trevor Noah told the 'Daily Show' audience about his experience with police in the wake of the Philando Castile verdict.

Police shooting videos won't save black people

Once again, dashcam video shows the cruel quickness of police violence.

Philando Castile dashcam video released after Officer Jeronimo Yanez acquitted

Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.