Plain black letters on white poster board. “This veteran stands with you,” the sign read.
On Friday afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order that immediately suspended admission into the United States by citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. The so-called Muslim ban set off unplanned protests in cities and airports across the country.
Taken overall, the protests and demonstrations have been inspirational. But they’ve also contained little stories, tiny moments of grace, that will knock you off your feet. My favorite of these stories features a Capitals fan.
As the sun went down on Saturday, thousands of people gathered at Dulles International Airport. One of them was an Army vet named Jeffrey Buchalter. With his family, he came all the way from Calvert County. He brought his Capitals hat, some handmade signs, and four Purple Hearts.
— Rose Jackson (@Rosejackson3) January 28, 2017
The Purple Heart is given to service members who are wounded or killed while serving. Buchalter knows well the sacrifice and dedication those medals represent. He spent more than two years at Walter Reed recovering from traumatic brain injury after his time in Iraq.
Now back at home with his family, Buchalter learned of the news on Saturday and felt compelled to go to Dulles.
Buchalter was photographed near the international arrivals area, holding his sign, and wearing a Washington Capitals Weagle hat.
Iraq vet w/ 4 Purple Hearts, drove two hours to Dulles w/ his son.
Nobody called him. He just came. Why?
"Not what I fought for." pic.twitter.com/pAe50ugtlI
— Mike Breen (@M_Breen) January 28, 2017
Not long after that photo was taken, a man from Iraq welcomed his wife into the States after hours stuck in customs. Buchalter, who served and was injured in the man’s home country, handed his Purple Heart over and took a photo.
— Carmel Delshad (@cdelshad) January 29, 2017
This man's wife made it through customs after hours. She's Iraqi. This man in cap & his son gave them a Purple Heart pic.twitter.com/yBiaiYvgXM
— Jessica Lussenhop (@Lussenpop) January 28, 2017
There are hundreds of stories like this from Saturday if you look for them. People of all stripes saying that American values and American interests don’t have to compete with each other. I love that message, but I think it sounds even better when it comes from men and women who actually served. They grant a meaning to their service that ennobles us all in a time when we sure could use more nobility.
Makes me proud to be an American and proud to be a Caps fan.
You can follow Jeff Buchalter on Twitter at @protecthevote.
Thanks to T2Va for the heads-up.
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