Immigrant of the Day: Alix Idrache – Soldier

Posted on: May 29th, 2016
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This photo from the recent graduate ceremony at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, has gone viral. It is of 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache, a Haitian immigrant who served for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard before attending West Point. Idrache went on social media to comment on the phenomenon of the photo and the Washington Post has interviewed him to tell us more about his story:

On West Point’s Instagram page, he left another message thanking people for their support. Bryant, the photographer, “captured a moment that I will never forget,” Idrache said. He credited past generations of soldiers and Capt. Kristen Griest, 1st Lt. Shaye Haver and Maj. Lisa Jaster, the three West Point graduates who last year became the first women to graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger School.

“Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” Idrache 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. 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.”

The third thing Idrache thought about, he wrote, is his future. Shortly after he leaves West Point, he will report to Fort Rucker, Ala., to start flight school.

“Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words,” Idrache wrote. “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.”

Lt. Idrache immigrated to the US in 2009 based on his father’s sponsorship. His family lives in the Washington, DC area.

The photograph, by the way, was taken by Army Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant and was shared more than 11 thousand times on the US Military Academy’s Facebook page.