A Moment with Khizr Khan

2017 - 03 - 25 (30)
Khizr Khan addressing the audience at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium

I wish everyone who lived in the United States of America was required to spend some time with Khizr Khan. I had the honor of hearing him speak last weekend at a “1,000 Who CAIR, Call to Action” event in St. Paul, Minnesota. CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations and they exceeded their goal of getting 1,000 people to attend last Saturday’s event at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium by more than five hundred people.

The program succeeded in enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring the large crowd. For me, the highlight of the four-hour event was spending a moment with Khizr Khan. He has often been referred to “The Gold Star Father” because he famously spoke last summer at the Democratic National Convention about his son, Humayun, an Army captain who died while serving in Iraq. The Convention wanted to pay tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Kahn’s son’s sacrifice, but the Khans ultimately decided to attend because they received a note from some school children who were affected by the negative statements Donald Trump had made about Muslims and immigrants. Mr. and Mrs. Khan decided it was their time to stand and make a statement against bigotry. Mr. Khan’s speech became etched in America’s collective memory when he pulled out his pocket Constitution and said, “Donald Trump, you’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of the law.'”

Today, Mr. Khan is still taking a stand. As I sat in the same room as him last Saturday, his passion for America was evident. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to him speak about his experience as an immigrant from Pakistan, his love for all of his neighbors, and his admiration for the country we share. I was humbled as he fervently spoke about all that was great about America. Mr. Khan discussed how fortunate we Americans are to live in a nation of rules and laws where judges and lawyers are the “custodians of the good values in this country.” This is something I have taken for granted. He pointed out that, “History has placed each and every one of you in this time.” And that we can all find a way to take a stand for this great nation. He confidently stated, “We will remain standing . . . our country’s good values will prevail.”

A deep appreciation for the United States Constitution was conveyed by Mr. Khan, and how he believes that amendments are actually “human dignities.” He said, “Our Creator has bestowed these dignities upon us. We will not let the White House take it away.” He suggested that we Americans hang onto our rights by: remaining firm, speaking about the goodness of our country, joining hands, speaking with one another, and simply saying to those who are struggling, “I am with you.”

Mr. Khan concluded his time with the audience by saying, “This is a blessed nation created with the special purpose of leading mankind forward.” I really wish President Trump was capable of embracing – and demonstrating – that sentiment. I’m going to guess that Mr. Trump probably still hasn’t even read the Constitution. I wish everyone in my country could be as truly American and as devoted to the success of the United States as Khizr Khan.


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© 2017 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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