Faraz Bala wore the gold ring on the third finger of his left hand.

Three words chiseled in the ring read: “Duty. Honor. Country.”

That’s the motto of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, Bala said.

Bala, 22, of Snohomish earned the 2007 class ring with fewer than 1,000 graduates in May.

The ring is evidence of his hard work, struggle and achievement over the last four years. Bala, a Muslim, balanced his religion with the rigorous academic work at the Christian-dominated institution.

“The schedule is not based on Islamic schedule. You have to work your religion around your schedule,” Bala said.

The ring is also a reminder of how far Bala, a Snohomish High School salutatorian, has come since joining some of the nation’s top young people.

“Even four years later, I can see the difference that going to West Point has made in my life, rather than going to a different college,” Bala said Thursday at his parents’ restaurant in Marysville. . .

Bala said he was one of about 10 Muslim graduates in his class. His four years at West Point have been overlapped with the war in Iraq.


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