The Washington Post

Military family reunites during Nats game (Video)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Melissa Banda had planned a trip from Germany to Washington with her kids, Penny and Ethan, to reunite with her husband. But she didn’t know when or how the reunion would happen.

Sgt. Hector Banda has been deployed in Afghanistan since May, and during a military tribute at Nats Park, he appeared from behind a screen of Racing Presidents to see his family for the first time in five months.

“It’s overwhelming,” Melissa said. “We knew we would be seeing him while we were here, but I didn’t know it was going to happen that way.”

The moment was almost too much for Ethan, who clung to his dad while 44,000 fans cheered for the Bandas. The 7 year-old burst into tears.

“I cried a lot,” Ethan said, when I asked him about the moment. “I missed him.”

While his dad has been away, Ethan has had to take on a few extra responsibilities. The most important?

“Being nice to my sister,” he said.

The family will take some family time here in the District for the next two weeks, before Sgt. Banda heads back to Afghanistan. Melissa said they have a list of things they’d like to do, but Ethan had only one thing on his mid

“I’m going to play video games with my dad!” he said, jumping up and down.

As far as which team the newly-reunited family is rooting for tonight in Game 5, that’s a no-brainer.

“We’re Nats fans now,” Melissa said. “From here on out.”

See the Banda family talk about their reunion below:



Nats fans line up for standing room only tickets

Video of Werth’s home run

Werth on getting inspiration from Caps crowds

Scenes from the celebration

Amazing photos of Werth’s trip

Audio of Charlie Slowes’s radio call



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Dan Steinberg · October 12, 2012