“Here we are, Palestinians, in a town where you have to chew tobacco and they take you onBeingto the rodeo so you can try to ride a bull.  It was fun…the people were nice,” said Fawas “Tony” Ismail of Mesquite, Tex., the town he immigrated to from Palestine almost half a century ago in a video for washingtonpost.com.

The video and others like it are featured in onBeing, the Washington Post’s video feature series produced by Jennifer Crandall. These one-voice videos highlight the individual stories of “all sorts of people” speaking candidly about all sorts of things.  The latest compilation in the series is called “onBeing the American Flag.” This is where Tony’s story takes the stage.

Tony lived out the American Dream by selling what inspired him: flags. Tony recalled flying to America for the first time and being struck by the American flag he saw at the airport gates. Then, as a junior in college, when Tony needed to make some extra money for his upcoming wedding, he began selling flags from countries all over the world out of his Volkswagen bus. After 40 years in America, he now owns one of the largest flag companies in the country.

Tony’s life in the U.S. hasn’t been all peace and success, however. In the video, Tony details an incident involving a man who harassed his daughter while she was selling flags at Union Station.

“He asked her if she was Muslim…she said yes…he punched her in the face…We have to move on but that’s the first case of discrimination we’ve ever experienced in, this year will be 40 years in the United States,” he said.

OnBeing is a vehicle for personal stories like Tony’s to candidly inform and inspire viewers. Though serious in tone, the storytelling is animated and personal, and encourages users to comment.

Despite the hardships of being an immigrant, Tony said, “Everyone comes here for an opportunity.  It’s wonderful to own one of the largest flag companies in the United States…as an Arab American.  It just keeps you smiling all the time.”