Many firefighters feel a special veneration for Americans who have given their lives in service to our country.
Perhaps that’s because in some very small way they understand the tension and force of danger and pushing beyond it.
Thousands of brave soldiers have been taken from us either in their absolute prime or just on the cusp of it.
They leave behind spouses, young children and parents wholly unprepared for the devastation of their child dying before them.
Abraham Lincoln, in his Second Inaugural Address as the Civil War was grinding to a finish, immortalized our collective responsibility to those left behind.
We must, “…care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
Army Captain Humayan S.M. Khan
American political conventions may be pageants of a sort but they are also showcases where we highlight ideals or beliefs we cherish.
And so it was in Philadelphia when Khizr and Ghazala Khan were invited to talk about their son, US Army Captain Humayan S.M. Khan.
Captain Khan was Â killed onÂ June 8, 2004, in Baquabah, Iraq, when a vehicle with a bomb rammed and exploded into the gates of his compound.
Captain Khan’s father was the most powerful reminder possible that in America we do not judge based on someone’s appearance, name, religion, etc.
In America, it’s what you do that matters.
AndÂ Army Captain Humayan S.M. Khan died serving our country.
By Abraham Lincoln’s powerful standard, to all those who grieve for Captain Khan and feel the pain of his loss, we owe comfort, respect and deference.
In repeated acts now hardly surprising, Donald Trump has turned the party of Lincoln on its head by heaping scorn on Captain Khan’s parents.
Trump’s show of respect to the elder Khan was to say about him,Â “Probably looked like a nice guy to me.”
He has questioned whether or not Mr. Khan’s words were his and suggested that Mrs. Khan was silent because of her religion.
Those remarks by Trump are both evil and vile as is his suggestion that by “building great structures” he has also made sacrifices.
Donald Trump annihilates and pulverizes our ethos of reverence for the fallen.
Both Proud and Ashamed
I am extremely proud ofÂ Khizr and Ghazala Khan as they speak out to remember and defend their son and to remind us all of what we are supposed to be about.
Trump’s reaction to them also proves that it is no longer acceptable to either defend him or to remain silent about him.
He must be repudiated by all who believe in the greatness of a country that is built upon equality, human dignity and respect.
Lastly, I feel shame for my union, the IAFF, because our leaders have stood silent while so many other union leaders have spoken out forcefully against Trump and his hate.
Where Trump is concerned the silence and cowardice of IAFF leaders has fed a monster who reviled a fallen patriot and his family.
Pass It On: Â Remember Captain Khan and His Family