Minnesota woman celebrates military college commissioning ceremony virtually

Sarah Ingraham, now a U.S. Army Lieutenant, graduated from Vermont's Norwich University in Chaska Sunday in a unique ceremony.

Across the country, commencements and celebrations are being postponed, but for a young woman from Shoreview, Minnesota, it’s a date that couldn’t wait.

With her mother on the horn playing the national anthem and military brass on the computer performing the ceremony, 22-year-old Sarah Ingraham became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

“I don’t know if there’s a way to be more proud of your kid,” said Stacy Ingraham, Sarah’s mother.

The Shoreview native is graduating from Norwich University in Vermont, a senior military college.

The commissioning ceremony which took place in Chaska Sunday is usually full of pomp and circumstance, held in front of a large crowd and top military leaders. However, due to COVID-19, the ceremony was performed virtually with only Sarah’s immediate family in attendance.

“I never would have imagined this,” said Sarah, now a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. “I don’t think anyone can.”

While commencement was postponed until September, the commission ceremony went on virtually.

“This will be different than any other graduation probably in the next 200 years,” Stacy said. “There is something special about it.”

At her mother’s suggestion, Sarah decided to take her oath in Chaska’s Veterans’ Park surrounded reminders of the commitment to serve including famous patriotic quotes.

“You come here and you read the quotes and you can see that there are people who have come before me and paved the way and maybe one day one of my quotes can be up here,” Sarah said.

She admits it wasn’t what she had pictured, and yet, she sees the silver linings.

“I was able to reach out to professors and high school friends and people that normally wouldn’t be able to watch the commissioning ceremony and have them there to support me,” said Sarah.

And it was with that virtual support system, under the wind-whipped flag of the U.S. Army, during an uncertain time, that she committed to serve.

“I mean, we’ll remember this for the rest of our lives,” said Stacy.

Sarah is preparing to leave for Israel, where she will be studing to get her masters in diplomacy and conflict studies.