The gravesite of Humayun Khan in Arlington, Virginia. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Despite their reservations, the couple were gratified by the sight of their son in an American uniform. After we pinned him his lieutenant bars after commissioning, Khizr said, we got the first salute from him and it meant the world to us, looking at our young son in the uniform of this beautiful, beautiful place where we have made home. And the pride in his eyes and happiness and joy on his face was just amazing.
But in 2003, George W Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq over what proved to be nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Many tens of thousands of people have since been killed, including more than 4,000 US soldiers.
The reverberations, including the rise of the so-called Islamic State extremist group, still haunt the US and the world.
Khan last spoke to his parents on Mothers Day, 2004. Ghazala told her son, I dont want you to be a hero. I want you to return back to me safely,
according to the New York Times. Khan replied: Of course I will. But mother, you should know I have responsibility for these soldiers, and I cannot leave them unprotected.
Khan helped Iraqi civilians find work for $5 an hour patrolling the streets of Baquba base, north-east of Baghdad. He belonged to a logistics unit, the 201st Forward Support Battalion, which guarded the gates of a base known as
Camp Warhorse. The mood was tense. Several innocent Iraqis, driving to work at the base, had just been killed or injured at the gates for failing to heed warning signs and guards.
On the morning of 8 June 2004, the gate guards alerted Humayun to an orange-and-white taxi moving slowly moving towards the base. He yelled for everyone to hit the ground, then walked 10 steps towards the taxi with his arm outstretched, gesturing to halt. The driver detonated his explosives before the car could ram the gates or nearby mess hall, where more than a hundred soldiers were at breakfast.
Khan and two Iraqis were killed.
As of last December, he was one of 14 American Muslims who have died serving the US since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. Khan, 27, was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and buried at Arlington, in a service under a hot midday sun that included the Nimaz-e-Janaza, an Islamic funeral prayer. His girlfriend, Irene Auer, from Germany,
told the Post that day: Whenever I was upset, he always found the right words. He always calmed me down. He was perfect. He was the most wonderful person Ive ever met.
Decorum, politics and respect for the dead that transcends culture have long put killed soldiers and their families beyond reproach. Clinton, who has been bitterly condemned by a woman whose son died in the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, has been painstakingly sympathetic. Trump charged forward like a bull in a china shop, crashing and smashing his way through every taboo. On Tuesday, after days of criticising the Khans, he boasted how a veteran had given him a Purple Heart, which he had
John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who was the Republicans 2008 nominee, was unsparing. While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, he said this week, it is not accompanied by unfettered licence to defame those who are the best among us.
A group of veterans gathered on Capitol Hill to
petition McCain and other Republican leaders to withdraw their endorsements of Trump. They included Mickiela Montoya, who served in Iraq in 2004. Donald Trump has attacked every single one of my identities, she said, describing herself as a woman, veteran, Latina and mother. Trump is trying to change the definition of what it means to be an American.
The last non-politician to win the presidency was Gen Dwight Eisenhower, who took the unconditional surrender of the Nazis. Trump is a former reality TV show host who received five
deferments from the Vietnam war draft: four for university and one for health (heel spurs). Trump also once said that avoiding venereal diseases had been his personal Vietnam.
trump clinton polls
Galen, 69, a veteran of the national guard who went on to be press secretary to vice-president Dan Quayle, will not be voting for his partys nominee. We treat fallen servicemen with a great deal of respect and their families with a great deal of compassion, he said. Its a political and social faux pas to do anything to disagree with that. What Trump did was violate this compassion rule.
Trump had such tin ear, Galen added. All he had to do was say, Im very sorry for the loss of your son, and that would have ended it. Instead its gone on for a week.
Indeed, history might judge Khizr Khans
seven-minute speech in Philadelphia as the turning point in this years presidential election: the moment that Trump was finally unmasked. Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Khizr asked, a question that remains unanswered.
Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.