Open Letter From 28 Gold Star Families On The Four Year Anniversary Of Khizr And Ghazala Khan’s 2016 DNC Speech

To Our Fellow Americans:

Four years ago today, Khizr and Ghazala Khan stood on the main stage at the Democratic National Convention to speak as the parents of a slain American soldier—Army Captain Humayan Khan. Before tens of thousands in Philadelphia and millions more watching from home, they spoke on behalf of us, a group no one wants to belong to: Gold Star Families. 

The Khan family was then mercilessly vilified by then-candidate Trump. And so was written an early chapter in Donald Trump’s incessant abuse of Gold Star Families, Blue Star Families, active duty servicemen and women, and veterans. 

On that stage in July 2016, Khizr Khan told Donald Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” He then asked Donald Trump: “Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?”

After four years with Donald Trump as president of the United States, it’s only become more painful and clear: Donald Trump knows nothing of sacrifice or service to this country, Donald Trump knows nothing about honor. And he certainly knows nothing of what it’s like to hug a loved one goodbye as they head off for a deployment and never see that loved one alive again. 

After four years with Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, we know he cares nothing about the Constitution nor the men and women who risk and lose their lives in its defense.  Donald Trump is so grossly negligent to those men and women that he refuses to digest daily intelligence reports presented by the U.S. military and the intelligence communities. In fact, he has sought to reward an enemy who targeted our troops in a murder-for-hire scheme. 

What Donald Trump is incapable of knowing—a love of country so deep it can carry one through the worst moments of life—we very much know.  

We know what the air at places like Arlington Cemetery smells like when ceremonial rifles are fired graveside. We know what a folded flag felt like when it was handed to us. We know that the pain our wounded warriors at Walter Reed and VA hospitals endure is not a backdrop for cheap photo ops for twitter. We know an ache that we’d never wish on anyone—an ache that never goes away. 

Men and women like our loved ones represent the absolute best of this country. They deserved better than Donald Trump back in 2016, they deserve better than Donald Trump today, and they deserve better than Donald Trump come November 3rd, 2020. We all do. 


Karen Meredith, mother of 1LT Kenneth Ballard, USA

Paul Eaton and Frank L. Eaton, sons of Col Norman Dale Eaton, USAF

Tracy E. Miller, mother of Cpl Nicholas Ziolkowski, USMC

Kimberly A. Enderle, daughter of Maj Clyde W. Enderle, USAF

Nadia McCaffrey, mother of SGT Patrick McCaffrey, SR, USA

Melinda Kane, mother of LCpl Jeremy Kane, USMC

Patricia Lawlis, daughter of CPT Joseph P. Kite, USA

Joan Donaldson, mother of SGT Mateo Donaldson, USA 

Diane Davis Santoriello and Neil Santoriello, parents of 1LT Neil Santoriello Jr., USA

Rinda Pope, mother of PFC Alexander R Varela, USA

Annette Pritchard, aunt of PFC William Ramirez, USA

Gilda Carbonaro, mother of Sgt Alessandro Carbonaro, USMC

Kevin and Joyce Lucey, parents of Cpl Jeffrey M. Lucey, USMC

Norma Aviles & Oscar Aviles, parents of LCpl Andrew J. Aviles, USMC

Michelle & Steven DeFord, parents of SGT David W. Johnson, USA

Carlos and Mélida Arredondo, father & Stepmother of LCpl Alexander S. Arredondo, USMC

Derek Davey, father and sisters Shiloh, Brittany and Austin Davey of Cpl Seamus MacLean Davey, USMC

Christina and James Ayube, parents of SGT James Ayube, USA

Vickie Castro, mother of CPL Jonathan Castro, USA

Sue Niederer mother of 2LT Seth Dvorin, USA

Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of LCpl Jesus Suarez del Solar, USMC

Linda C Mittleider, daughter of Brady M. Wood, USN

Gregory Commons, father of CPL Matthew Commons, USA

Florence Sandra Penn, sister of 1LT Charles L Penn Jr, USA

Xiomara Mena, mother of CPL Andy D. Anderson, USA

Danny R. Baum, father of SSG Tane T. Baum, USA

Marianne Cleary, mother of 1LT Michael J. Cleary, USA

John Fenton, father of Sgt Matthew J. Fenton, USMC