During the winding wait on arrival at the airport, Baset Azizi made this empty promise: “I will try not to cry.”
But of course he wanted to. For the first time in his life, all his dreams came true.
CBS NewsAzizi in 2016, when he lived in Afghanistan, and sent a Facebook message to David Bilger, a trumpeter for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Azizi was looking for a mentor.
“He started by saying, ‘I’m the best trumpeter in Afghanistan, because there are only two.’ And I was immediately taken by him. I said, ‘OK, I have to read the rest of what he has to say ‘, Bilger told CBS News at the time.
Azizi told him how hardliners wanted Western music banned and the players punished. Azizi told CBS News that he felt he was risking his safety, but he played anyway.
With that dedication and a little help from Bilger, Azizi entered the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts, a high school in Michigan. From there, he went to college in the United States and even got an internship with a congressman.
Azizi valued his new American freedom so much that he once broke his trumpet in a crowded airport to honor a group of veterans he saw. That’s the kind of boy he is.
But he has also been a lone kid. He had not seen his family, who were still in Afghanistan, for six years. They fled after the fall of Kabul in August and were evacuated to Abu Dhabi, where quarantines, overcrowding at US treatment centers and paperwork halted their journey to America – until now.
Last month, his father, mother and three sisters joined him in Kansas City.
“It was a dream to see my son before he dies,” his mother, Parwana, told CBS News.
His family arrived just in time to see him graduate from the University of Kansas.
One day, Azizi hopes to work for the U.S. State Department as an ambassador. Until then, he is completely content with his humble titles as brother and son.
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