Gold Star Families: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Khizr Khan (R), with his wife Ghazala Khan (L), speaks about their son US Army Capt. Humayun Khan at the 2016 DNC. (Getty)

Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones in war, are demanding an apology from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after what they are calling Trump’s “anti-American” comments toward a slain Muslim U.S. soldier.

Trump was criticized by Khizr Khan, the father of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, during the 2016 Democratic National Convention because of Trump’s proposal to background check and vet Muslim immigrants. Trump countered on Sunday, telling George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week” that he, too, had made sacrifices through his business enterprises and questioned Khizr Khan’s wife, Ghazala Khan, because she didn’t speak at the convention.

VoteVets, a veterans advocacy group, released a letter Monday criticizing Trump about his comments. The letter is signed by 11 Gold Star family members who said “Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know.”

“We feel we must speak out and demand you apologize to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American, comments,” the letter states.

Here is what you need to know about Gold Star families:

1. Gold Star Families Have Lost a Loved One in War

A “Gold Star” is a recognition of a deceased military family member. The stars appeared on service flags shortly after World War I — a blue star meant the serviceman or servicewoman was living, a gold star signified the deceased.

“Many Gold Star families wear the Gold Star lapel pin to signify their pride,” Gold Star Families states. “The lapel pin displays a Gold Star with a purple background surrounded by a gold wreath and first made its appearance during World War I.”

Community groups support others and help others through times of grief, sadness, pain and dismay, the organization says.

2. There Is a Separate Group Just For Moms: Gold Star Mothers

American Gold Star Mothers Inc. is an off-shoot group from the overall Gold Star families. A self-described veterans service organization, chartered by Congress in 1984, Gold Star Moms “continue to honor our sons and daughters through service — service to veterans and patriotic events,” its website states.

The group’s new president this year is Candy Martin, whose son, 1st Lt. Thomas Martin, died in Iraq in 2007.

In discussing the moms group, Martin told “Soldiers,” the official U.S. Army magazine, “We get it.”

“We are a proud profession of Mothers, who do not dwell on grief support, but support to veterans,” Martin wrote on the moms site. “It is through that veteran support that we find comfort. I believe we save each other side-by- side. It’s a ‘sister thing’.”

3. Ghazala Khan Is A Gold Star Mother

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Screenshot of the Khan interview on MSNBC. (MSNBC)

Ghazala Khan, who stood next to her husband on stage at the DNC, didn’t speak there. She told MSNBC “It was very nervous, because I cannot see my son’s picture and I cannot even come in the room where his pictures are, and that’s why when I saw the picture on my back, I couldn’t take it. And I controlled myself at that time, so it is very hard,” she said.

Khan is a Gold Star mother. She lost her son, 27-year-old Capt. Humayun Khan, in Iraq in 2004.

“Captain Khan told his troops to get back, but he went forward. He took 10 steps toward the car,” said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a video introducing Khan’s father at the DNC.

4. Family Members of 17 Fallen Service Members Wrote Trump for His Comments About The Khans

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Khizr Khan, father of deceased Muslim U.S. Soldier Humayun S. M. Khan, holds up a booklet of the US Constitution. (Getty)

The letter, in its entirety, goes after Trump for his comments about the Khans. It is signed by Gold Star families and was released by VoteVets, which, according to its website, is backing all Democrats for federal office. The group has also spent more than $600,000 against Trump this election cycle, according to

The letter reads:

gold star letter, gold star families, khan, karen meredith


5. Fallen Benghazi Soldier’s Mom, A Gold Star Mom, Is a Trump Supporter

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Patricia Smith, the mother of fallen Benghazi soldier Sean Smith, appeared at the 2016 RNC. (Getty)

Not all Gold Star families are represented by the letter.

Patricia Smith, the Gold Star mother of fallen Benghazi soldier Sean Smith, is a Trump supporter. She spoke at the GOP National Convention.

Conservative voices are sounding off against “the media” and its portrayal of the Trump-Khan situation. Pointing to Clinton’s actions as Secretary of State, conservatives have said the Democrat “pretty much” called Smith a liar.

“You know, look, I feel a great deal of sympathy for the families of the four brave Americans that we lost at Benghazi. And I certainly can’t even imagine the grief that she has for losing her son. But she’s wrong. She’s absolutely wrong,” Clinton said during a debate.


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The truth has nothing to do with gremmar or spell check! What matters is the bull shirt the Muslim brother hood is trying to put on the American people ask your good body king Obama or your cop killing fends BLM! Anonymous


$ 600,000 that’s a lot of money ? The gold star families group using donation from people thinking this money is going to Veterans ? And useing the money inappropriately? How is this helping veterans that Mr Khan, saying in a hateful way that Trump gave the the OK for the IRAQ WAR ? He looks and sounds more like a angry Muslim and not as a loving family and putting blame were it belongs! Poor angry family this will not bring your son back, but how much did the DNC or Clinton pay for your service ? And yes a Muslim ban is needed or maybe Mr and Mrs Khan is in the DARK about ISIS ? You think? What true American don’t know the threat about Radical Islamic Terrorism ! ! maybe just the Khan family ? And Clinton and the Obama administration! who is this man khiz Khan ? I have seen the good old American boys wave the flag and then burn it. !!!!!!!! Now let me tell you Mr Khan my family have died in wars along with some dam good men what about are sacrifice and I feel I must speak out and demand you Mr and Mrs Khan apologize! I don’t think that you will !! Next time you hold up the Constitution reed it first before you open your mouth, you must not know that ISIS FIGHTERS have been well come with open arms by the Obama administration policy and Clinton into the United States! Now Mr Khans we all know you no nothing about ISIS right! and frankly your sense of decency for my family makes me sick and I and all Americans demand you apologize for your anti-American, comments


You probably are an outsourced troll paid by D. Trump, given that no american will have so many spelling mistake and bad grammar, i recommend you need to use spell check or maybe computers in your country do not have such thing


How are you helping anyone by proliferating the lie that Khan’s DNC speech blamed anyone, let alone Donald Trump, for the Iraq War? Who are you helping when you pretend real, informed Americans know the threat from radical Islamic Terrorism is no larger than the threat of radical right-wing extremist terrorism. Why are you dishonoring you “family [that] have died in wars along with some dam good men” by joining Trump and wiping your ass with the Constitution? You sound nothing like the patriotic American you desperately pretend to be, but more like an angry, uneducated, bigoted coward who can only define himself by who or what he fears. The eagerness in which you wrap yourself in a blanket of cowardice and fear of the Muslin boogeyman sickens me and the only apology America demands is from you and those like you who want the rest of the world to see this country, not as the proud leader of the free world it is, but as a scared child huddled in the corner shivering every time something goes bump in the night.

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