My letter to Ghazala and Khizr Khan

Dear. Mr. Khizr & Mrs. Ghazala Khan –

I am writing to you today as just one patriotic American, one who works in Republican politics.

Let me begin by stating my profound condolences for the tragic loss of your son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, who is an American hero.

Your family is one of more than 6,000 Gold Star families in the United States, and all Americans hold you in our thoughts and prayers.

Our nation is proud to have a volunteer military, the most fearsome in the history of the world, which defends our country, its interests, and our allies day and night, 365 days a year, in dangerous and dark corners around the world.

Like most Americans, I am sure you did not seek the limelight. In fact, I am sure the last few days have been not just surreal, but also painful.

I believe you have done our nation a service in courageously speaking out.

It is not the religion of the patriot that matters, it is their honorable service.

Your courageous son gave the last full measure of devotion to our country and it is a debt that can never be repaid.

It is not unlike the devotion that first responders gave on 9/11 or police officers gave in Dallas and Baton Rouge last month.

Please know that your son represents the absolute best of America.

Unless a person is Native American, at some point, their forebears came to this country as immigrants, just as you did.

America is a beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity unlike anywhere else in the world.

I want to assure you that nothing about how Donald Trump has responded to your speech reflects on the Republican Party or on America.

As you know, the U.S. Constitution protects free speech, and so it protected you.

As you know, the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of religion, barring any religious test for entry into our country, and so it protected you.

Many Americans have learned a lot about you and your son in recent days.

Your own call for moderate Muslims to speak out against Islamic extremism is worthy of praise. Indeed, anyone who wishes to defeat al Qaeda and ISIS should be celebrating your example, not mocking or insulting it.

It is unconscionable that one prominent individual sought to lash out at you, rather than humbly and sincerely thanking your family for their sacrifice.

If Donald Trump has deepened your pain, or the pain of any other Gold Star family, I will apologize on his behalf. He may be incapable of offering an apology or demonstrating empathy, but I am not.

Please know that America is every bit as welcoming today as it was when you came here.

Nothing about the last few days or the current political campaign has changed that.

As President Abraham Lincoln wrote on November 21, 1864, to another Gold Star family:

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.


On behalf of a truly grateful nation, we honor and thank your family for the dedicated and honorable service of your fallen son. We will continue to pray for you and your family.




Matt Mackowiak

Austin, TX