That is the thing about Gold Star families. They are vulnerable in ways the rest of us are not. I heard a researcher say a couple of months ago that he believed we experience high rates of PTSD because our society here at home does not understand what we have gone through. He mentioned that in Israel, soldiers experience almost no PTSD when they return home. This researcher explained that is because most of Israeli society participates in their war effort. Every male is required to serve in the military for some period of time. Every family has someone who has served. Whereas, here in America, military service is quite uncommon. So, when we come home, yes, there is sympathy, but not actual understanding. If that is true for service members with PTSD, it is even more true for our Gold Star families.
In this piece in theSan Antonio Express News, one mother mentioned knowing the Khan family. She found Donald Trump’s remarks offensive. One Gold Star father defended Mr. Trump. But, I bet even he finds this spotlight on one Gold Star family brings back all those memories fresh. As one parent said, its like its all back in your face again, even now years later.
The Gold Star families do not all have one opinion. But, as Ami Neibereger-Miller said, you can respond in a compassionate way that you disagree. See San Antonio Express News report.
The remarkable thing about the whole Khan debacle, in my opinion, is that most people saw Mrs. Khan standing there on that stage with her husband and understood on some level that she was hurting. It took someone with little empathy to wonder why she was not talking. As a member of the military community, I find much reassurance that most people understood on an instinctive level. Unfortunately, some, like Donald Trump, just had no idea what she was going through. What we now know is that she saw the big picture, high definition perhaps, of her son behind her. She was overwhelmed with memories of her son. That is a Gold Star mother.