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Graduating cadets embrace new journey as officers
US Army | May. 25, 2022
WEST POINT, N.Y. — It was their final moment donning their full dress as friends and family filled Michie Stadium. The graduates triumphantly marched onto the field to receive their diplomas and commission as second lieutenants during the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2022 Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony on May 21 at West Point.
The 1,014 graduates relished their most significant milestone as they joined the ranks of the U.S. Army, ready to embark on a journey of selfless service.
“Class of 2022, congratulations! The past 47 months has been a tough, rigorous and challenging experience to develop you as leaders of character prepared to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, prepared for a career of selfless service and prepared to fight our Nation’s wars,” Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams said.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Williams’s sentiments and discussed what the future of defense may look like for the young officers. He also addressed the importance of equality and how teamwork and perseverance will allow them to defend the Nation effectively.
“...We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and all women are created equal, and they are endowed, by their creator, with certain inalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Milley said. “That is what you are committing yourself to today in just a few minutes. That is what you are all about. That is why you will fight. That is why you will win, and you will never ever turn your back on that Constitution, no matter what the price is to yourself. That is what guides every beating heart in the ‘Long Gray line’ today ... so, it’s now time for you — the class of ‘22 to take the torch and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The graduating class launched their hats into the air, shouting in jubilation as a stampede of family and friends charged at them to embrace and celebrate the moment.
“Tossing our covers in the air — that was cool, but the bigger moment is when you throw your hat up, the first question in your mind is, ‘Who am I looking to go hug?’ and you go find that first friend and you look into each other’s eyes and you say, ‘Congratulations my friend, I love you,’” the newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Isaac Hagberg said.
From overcoming the trials of Reception Day to receiving the 306th Infantry Award for Excellence in Men’s Physical Health, the four-year experience at the academy expanded Hagberg’s perspective on what it means to form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
“I enjoyed the aspect of leadership where you push someone to their brink, and then through your coaching, or through your friendship, or through your demonstration of what’s possible, they and you get to see what’s actually possible and they get to expand their reality just a little bit more,” Hagberg said. “In seeing that and ensuring that you have so much more in you than you previously believed, you realize how wonderful that is. That is what I am taking with me from West Point, and I aspire to have those moments throughout my career.”
If someone had asked four years ago if new 2nd Lt. Jane Yan wanted to become an officer, she’d tell you, “I don’t really know.”
However, throughout her four-year tenure at West Point, she believes her experiences have developed her into a more mentally resilient and astute person.
“These four years have really shaped me. I feel like it’s made me more mature than maybe my peers from other colleges just based on the experiences I’ve been through here,” Yan said. “I definitely see a vital change in my character, my belief in things, as well as my viewpoints. My point of view on the world has changed every single year that I was a cadet at the academy.”
As the day’s celebration concluded, members of the graduating class flocked to various homes and locations at West Point to continue the right of passage into officership and don their second lieutenant bars on their shoulders.
“Lieutenants, we are proud of you. You have a difficult and dangerous road ahead, and no one should underestimate it,” Milley concluded. “You also have the opportunity to navigate those dangerous roads ahead and to lead our Nation’s most precious resource: the young men and women who don the cloth of this Nation — the American Soldier. May God bless West Point, may God bless the United States Army, and may God bless the United States of America.”