Words cannot express how offensive I find Donald Trump’s remarks. He was speaking about Khizr Khan, the father of Capt. Khan. Twenty-seven year old Capt. Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004 while serving in the U.S. Army. The father, Khizr Khan gave an emotional speech about his son at the Democratic National Convention. During his speech, he challenged Donald Trump, asking him what sacrifices he has made for his country.
Well, a few days later, Donald Trump was asked that question. What sacrifices has he made? He said he has made a lot of sacrifices. Pressed for more details, he said he has worked very, very hard. He has created thousands of jobs. See ABC news report.
I do not know what to say. I lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have written about them here on this blog. They were part of my Army family, but not my blood family. I am no expert on Gold Star families but I know a couple. Gold Star refers to families who lost someone in the wars. I can say without hesitation that “hard, hard” work in no way compares to losing a spouse or a parent.
Back in the 1970’s, a football player, Rocky Bleier payed in the NFL. He was the first Viet Nam veteran to do so. Reporters would ask him if football compared to combat. He would try to answer, but how can you explain the extreme violence of combat? How do you explain the pain and deep sense of guilt of losing a buddy? There are no words to explain such profound losses. There are no words to explain that working “very, very” hard is nothing like giving up one of your sons for your country.
When we lost 1SGT Saenz in 2006, I was shocked, scared, overwhelmed. A few weeks later, I saw my old buddies from Ft. Jackson. They were the ones who served in Baghdad with 1SGT Saenz. Everything I had felt before was magnified. These were good friends of mine. It rocked me to see the pain they felt, the unnecessary guilt they felt. Losing one good man literally knocks you on your heels. And, I was not a blood relative, just an Army friend.
I only hope no Gold Star family members hear about his remarks. His response trivializes a life-chasing event. There is a gulf between veterans and civilians. But, most civilians, perhaps 99.9% appreciate what they do not know. Most remain silent when it comes to comparing war time and peace time. Donald Trump does not.