Former Iraqi interpreter for National Guard recites Pledge of Allegiance at Trump rally

Updated: October 11, 2019 07:05 PM

A local man who had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with President Donald Trump Thursday night said it's an honor he never would have thought possible. 

KSTP provided the story of Khalid 'Phillip' Awda earlier this year. He's from Iraq and served as an interpreter for the Minnesota National Guard in Basra in 2009. He arrived in Minnesota in 2013 and just last month he became a U.S. citizen. 

Thursday night was the opportunity of a lifetime for Awda.

"I was... I couldn't believe it in the beginning," Awda said.

Former Iraqi interpreter for National Guard granted US citizenship

Khalid goes by 'Phillip' now. He said he couldn't believe it when one of the soldiers he worked with overseas told him he would be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance for the crowd at Target Center before President Trump spoke.

"When they told me I was going to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the Target Center yesterday, it was a huge honor to me," he said.

Awda was able to recite it flawlessly but told KSTP he was nervous he would make a mistake.

Awda noted the most important line of the Pledge of Allegiance to him— "one nation, under God."

"It didn't say Republican or Democrat, it didn't say white, black, yellow, brown. It said just 'one nation' because technically everyone under the sky of this country is one nation," Awda said.

After he recited the Pledge, he was taken back stage and shook hands with the president and took a photo with him.

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Matt Belanger

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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