Second Lieutenant Anmol Narang, a second-generation immigrant born and raised in Roswell, Georgia, is the first observer at the Sikh Academy, which means he follows religious practices including Kesh, which requires hair to grow naturally without them. cut.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Narang told CNN. “It’s a humble experience, I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life. Being a Sikh woman is a very important part of my identity and if my experience can play a small role as an inspiration for others, regardless of career, it will be great. “
While other Sikhs have graduated from the academy, the Sikh Coalition confirmed to CNN that Narang is the first Sikh observer to graduate from West Point.
The 23-year-old graduate hopes her efforts to represent religion and her community will encourage Americans to learn more about the Sikh faith, the fifth largest religion in the world.
Narang said she decided to apply to West Point to study nuclear engineering and pursue a career in air defense systems after visiting the Pearl Harbor National Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In 2017, eight years after the Sikh Coalition’s campaign to end the US military’s ban on certain religious practices restricting Sikh members began, the military updated its rules governing religious freedom.
“I am very proud of (Second Lieutenant) Naring who saw her goal and, in this way, broke down an obstacle for any Sikh American who wishes to serve,” U.S. Army Captain Simartal Singh said in a statement. “The broader acceptance of Sikh members by all branches of service, as well as in high-level leadership positions such as West Point, will continue to benefit not only the rights of religious minorities, but the strength and diversity of their military.” USA. “
Graduates are 6 meters apart from Plain Parade Field to accommodate the Covid-19 public health requirements instead of gathering at Michie Stadium, the traditional site of the ceremony. Family and friends did not have the opportunity to attend the ceremony, but they could watch it online.
“This top military academy produces only the best of the best – the strongest of the strong – and the bravest of the brave. The West Point is a global symbol of American charm, faith, devotion, discipline and skill. “, Trump began his address, reading from a teleporter.
“For the 1,107 young officers who are currently serving in the most exceptional army that has ever taken the battlefield, I am here to offer my greetings to America. Thank you for responding to your country’s call,” he added.
Narang will complete her core leadership lesson at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. It will then head to its first publication in Okinawa, Japan in January 2021.
Zachary Cohen and CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to the report.