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Khizr Khan on why public service is the root of patriotism

"When you lose a child, it creates a hole in your heart...that is never filled," says Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who gave a captivating speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Khan offers his Brief but Spectacular take on dignity and patriotism, while offering the story of his son's sacrifice and the legacy he left behind.

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  • Khizr Khan:

    I would take my kids with our guests sometimes to Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., and I would ask them to read the inscription on the wall.

    And they would be amazed to see what is written. Sometimes, these kids would roll their eyes because I have taken them 20 times already. And they would complain that, why you keep bringing us here?

    But patriotism begins to take root. When Captain Humayun Khan arrived at University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's university, in Charlottesville, he became avid reader of Jefferson. And public service, the emphasis on public service, serving others, became his motto.

    And you see from his life how far that took him, service of others.

    The person that he became by the training that the Army provided him turned him into a patriot. He was protecting those who were under his responsibility.

    On June 8, 2004, in was in Baqubah, Iraq. He realized that this car is moving too fast towards the doors. He told his men and women at the gate to hit the ground. He had the option to hit the ground. That would have meant that this car would hit the gate and harm the people at the gate and beyond on the other side of the wall.

    He took 10 steps, those 10 made-in-America bravery steps, towards the car. His hand extended trying to stop it. He did stop the car, causing it to prematurely detonate. He lost his life instantly there.

    That has become symbol of Captain Humayun Khan, that there comes time in every person's life when you have to stand up, even if it means risking your life, for the values that you cherish so very much.

    He granted us 27 years of his presence. Only parents know this. It is said that, when you lose a child, it creates a hole in your heart, and that is never filled. You learn to live with that.

    Guess who said that to me? I was at Union Station checking in to travel the train. The person who was issuing the ticket looked at me. He recognized me. He came. There was a line of people waiting. He came behind the counter, gave me a hug, and whispered in my ear, "Mr. Khan, I want to you know that I have lost a son too."

    When I go to Arlington Cemetery, I not only stand at Captain Humayun Khan's grave and pray for his soul. I pray for all of my sons and daughters that are buried there. It means so very much to me.

    My name is Khizr Khan. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on dignity and patriotism.

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