Displayed boldly beneath a fierce eagle, the class of 2023’s motto reads, “Freedom is not Free.” This motto is a reminder of the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Every member of our class is willing to make this same sacrifice. “Freedom is not Free” will be a daily reminder of those who have served or are currently serving and the legacy they have left as inspiration for us as future officers.

Building off our gratitude for those who served before us, the crest bears symbology from our fifty-year affiliate class, USMA class of 1973. The font of our class year and “USMA” were created to stylistically mirror the 1973 crest. Additionally, beneath each of the eagle’s three talons, we can count seven chain links, symbolizing their graduation year. However, the chain not only represents our connection to the class of 1973 but to each other. It is a reminder of our purpose. The breaking of the chain is representative of our fight against oppression and tyranny in defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The outstretched wings of the eagle serve as a shield against those same evils. The eagle serves as a defender of the nation, its people, and its values.

In keeping with tradition, we chose to incorporate the eagle to encapsulate bravery, the flag to represent freedom, and the olive and oak leaves to embody victory and resilience. These historical images depict the values that the class of 2023 internalizes. Values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. As we look forward to our careers in the military, we understand that today we are cadets, here to learn, so that tomorrow we may be officers meant to lead. This transition from cadets to officers is represented by the sabers that frame the bald eagle.

Since 1835, every West Point class has chosen its own crest to represent what it stands for, and we are no different. Our crest is meant to unify a diverse group from various backgrounds. However different we are, we are united by our willingness to serve in defense of freedom and the values enshrined in the Constitution. The crest itself is a symbol of this unity, a physical manifestation to represent our connection to one another and our dedication to our mission.

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Kamala D. Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.

Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

“My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’”

Vice President Harris and her sister, Maya Harris, were inspired by their mother, Shyamala Gopalan. Gopalan, a breast cancer scientist and pioneer in her own right, received her doctorate the same year Vice President Harris was born.

Her parents were activists, instilling Vice President Harris with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models—ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley—whose work motivated her to become a prosecutor.

Read More about Vice President Harris

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