Sitting in the barber chair as a brand-new cadet at West Point, Simratpal Singh couldn't watch as the barber cut his hair for the first time in the Sikh's life.

"It was excruciating," says Captain Singh of having to remove his turban and be shorn of his long hair and beard. He asked to turn his barber chair around, and had trouble looking at himself in the mirror for weeks afterward.

"At the time, I decided to basically choose to serve my country," says Singh, an Army Ranger who went on to earn a Bronze Star during a tour of duty as an engineer helping to clear roadside bombs in Afghanistan. "But what I promised myself is that I'd figure out a way to maintain my articles of faith again."

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