WASHINGTON D.C. -- Less than 24 hours before super bowl champions, Philadelphia Eagles were ready to visit the White House, their visit was abruptly cancelled by President Trump.
But that didn’t stop the thousands of fans — including 18 business owners & executives from Pennsylvania from attending Tuesday's event.
Kevin Shivers with Pennsylvania’s National Federation of Independent Business, says he got a call a few weeks ago from the White House, telling him, he and other members from the NFIB were invited to celebrate the Super Bowl championship of the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, when President Trump sent a tweet out late Monday night that he was was cancelling the event because “only a small number of players decided to come” — Shivers thought their invite was cancelled, too, until he got a call.
“Last night we received a call from the White House immediately after the president made his decision," said Kevin Shivers, Executive State Director, NFIB PA.
Informing Shivers and other members with Pennsylvania’s NFIB that they were still welcome to attend.
Early Tuesday morning, a group of 18 members hopped on a Bailey Coach bus in York County to head to Washington D.C.
“We were disappointed to learn that the team will not be in attendance, but for many of these small business owners, this is the first time that they’ve been invited to the White House and that indeed is a very special honor and moment," said Shivers.
But some who were invited, had some mixed feelings when they initially heard the news.
The celebration for the NFL team, turned into a celebration for flag and those who put their lives before others — something NFIB member, John Bailey with 'Bailey Coach Buses' feels very strongly about.
“We need to support our president and we need to support our nation and if those folks aren’t willing to support our nation, during the National Anthem, then I don’t think we need to support them," said John Bailey, owner of Bailey Coach Buses.
And that’s just what they did Tuesday in Washington D.C. — thousands gathered at the White House South lawn to pay tribute to the heroes who put their lives before others and sing the National Anthem.
"I think I would have rather had the players here but people had a great time, the Eagles fans were out in number yelling E-A-G-L-E-S as loudly as they could," said Charlie Gerow.
“I have to be able to look at both sides of the equation because I believe in the freedom of speech and as a business owner, its something that I support, although it is difficult," said Joe Harford, founder & president of Reclamere.
While everyone was proud to celebrate America and what we stand for — each person who attended, bled green from the inside.
“The people that are attending are rabid Eagle’s fans, they all told me they will continue to be rabid Eagle’s fans," added Shivers.