West Point graduate’s “tears of freedom” photo melts the internet

Alix Idrache during the 2016 West Point graduation (Facebook/USMA)

Two days after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy,  a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant says he woke up to find he’d become an overnight social media sensation.

Army Staff Sergeant Vito Bryant snapped an emotional photo of the graduate, as tears streamed down his face, during this week’s West Point graduation ceremony.

The Instagram photo, along with the hashtag, #DutyHonorCountry, went viral and the recent grad posted this message on Facebook: “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.”

Growing up in Haiti, Alix Idrache says there was often US military presence there and he was always ‘infatuated by the soldiers’.

At first, he was intrigued by the idea that he could get a college education if he enlisted in the Army.  Later, though it became about something so much more. It was an opportunity to ‘fight for a powerful idea’ – he said.

“I may be naive or idealistic, but I find this a very noble calling,” he told the Independent Journal Review. 

Idrache says he couldn’t help but be humbled by the meaning behind it all as he stood there thinking of the other men and women who have stood in that position to take the same oath, who have “preserved the very essence of the human condition.”

He also mentioned other USMA grads like CPT Kristen Griest and LT Shaye Haver, who “rewrote the narrative and challenged the status quo to prove themselves worthy of being called Rangers”.

Idrache says he’ll now report to Ft. Rucker, Alabama to begin flight school and his five years of service with the Army.

“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.”

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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