The Other Hero of the Night
At the end of the third inning of every home game at Nationals Park, the fans set aside the excitement of the game on the field and turn their attention behind home plate, where the Nationals honor men and women of our nation’s military for their service. Washington is the only club in any professional sport to have such a ceremony at every home game, and the response from the fans – a standing ovation each and every time – underscores the ceremony’s importance in our Nation’s Capital. But at Thursday night’s game, a couple hours before the crowd was sent into a frenzy by Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run, the recognition took on a special meaning.
Melissa Banda – wife of Sgt. Hector Banda of the U.S. Army – and her children, Ethan and Penny, were brought out to the landing of the Lexus Presidents Club. They were shown a video of Sgt. Banda on NatsHD, welcoming them to the game from his post in Afghanistan, where he has been for the past five months. However, the family got a much larger gift when Sgt. Banda himself emerged from behind the Racing Presidents to surprise his family right then and there. It was a truly touching moment, one that neither the Banda family, nor the fans in attendance, will forget any time soon.
Our words can’t do it justice, so watch the video for yourself.