Sofia Yassini is an 8-year-old girl from Texas. She's also a Muslim-American, and when she heard on television that Muslims might be banned from entering the United States, she got scared that the Army might come and kick her and her family out of the country. She packed her favorite toys and kept checking to be sure the doors were locked. News of her fear triggered a campaign among U.S. veterans with the hashtag #iwillprotectyou.
Since the hashtag went viral, hundreds of veterans and active duty military personnel have contacted the Yassini family to reassure Sofia. Speaking only for themselves, and not the Defense Department, they promised her she would be safe. "No one will be coming for you, so long as I breathe," wrote Patrick Brandt, a former paratrooper who served two tours in Iraq. Lt. Christina Trecate, on active duty with the Pennsylvania National Guard, wrote, "Don't be scared, Sophia. My oath includes you and all the families in our great nation, always." Air Force veteran Sherman Hardy remembers growing up as an African-American and knows how stereotypes can be emotionally wounding. That's why his decision to support Sophia is not just an obligation. "I think it's an American duty," he said.
With all this support, Sophia has gone back to being a normal 8-year-old, assuring her Mom, "I'm not worried anymore."