An Open Letter to the Khans and Mr. Trump

Trump – you had my vote.  For the first time, I saw a candidate who refused to play the corrupt game that has evolved inside the Beltway, the corrupt relationship between the press and politics.  You stood up to a press corps that abuses its power by shaming candidates into submission.  Good for you.

You gave me hope that someone might be able to break the mold – the one that allows politicians to confuse the issues and turn America’s need for honest government into a popularity contest.

You blew it.

If I could, I would invite you into my world and help you learn what the word ‘sacrifice’ means.  I would place you in the waters off North Vietnam surrounded by NVA gunboats, and watch you try to recall every word of Vietnamese you could think of.  Maybe then you would know what sacrifice means.  You would know that you were there to support the flights of pilots like John McCain.  You would know that you were there to play the minor role of search and recovery for pilots struggling to go ‘feet wet’ after their aircraft were shot to hell over North Vietnamese targets.  And you would know that you, just like the pilots struggling to keep their aircraft airborne, were suddenly faced with capture by enemy forces.

Tell a soldier, sailor, or airman you’ve made sacrifices with dollar amounts attached, and we who have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt will laugh in your face.  Sacrifice does not have monetary value; sacrifice is when you give your life to a Nation that calls you to serve it.

The phrase ‘give your life’ seems to be abused these days.  Many politicians say they’ve ‘given their lives’ to serve.  Unless you have kissed you own butt goodbye and put yourself in a situation where giving your life means the real possibility of losing that life, you can’t know the full meaning of the word.  I’ve hugged Gold-Star mothers and cried with them.  I share their grief, and I also know that the sacrifice of their sons and daughters is why I remain alive today.  Their loss is my loss, because their son or daughter’s death was why I came home alive. 

Bottom line here, Mr. Trump – presented with the choice of having you or Captain Khan with me in a firefight, I pick Khan.  He would share his ammunition with me if things got tight; you would hide and call someone to take over for you.  You’re a schoolyard bully.  You insist that everything you say is true; you refuse to admit a mistake, and you bully those who disagree.  Please, Sir, do not apologize to the Khans.  Stand your ground, Mr. Trump.  Tell the world that money is sacrifice, and keep saying it.  Insist that you’re right.  That way, every veteran who has ever been under fire will finally know you. 

As for me, Mr. and Mrs. Khan, from the bottom of my heart and with tears in my eyes, I thank you.  Know that your son is appreciated by all veterans.  He is the reason we came home alive.  He is my Brother.  I know he worshipped Allah; I know also that he loved his Country and respected People of the Book like me.  May the God we worship together bless you both. 

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