Gold Star mother upset by recent political debate

Kelly Kowall

(WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area Gold Star mom told News Channel 8 she’s upset by recent political debate.

Last Thursday, Khizr Khan ignited a national debate with powerful words delivered at the Democratic National Convention. Khan immigrated to the United States from Pakistan. His son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 in Iraq.

Khizr Khan challenged Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump by saying, ” You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” He also held the Constitution and asked Trump whether he had read it.

Trump fired back on Twitter and in subsequent television interviews, claming Khan’s speech was written by Hillary Clinton’s speech writers. The presidential nominee also attacked Ghazala Khan, the captain’s mother, for not speaking during the convention herself.

Ghazala Khan responded Sunday in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, saying talking about her son’s death 12 years ago is still hard for her. When her husband asked if she wanted to speak at the convention, she said she could not.

“When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant,” she wrote.

Kelly Kowall is a mother who knows about service, sacrifice and country. Her son Corey was killed in combat operations in Iraq.

She said she is saddened Gold Star families have been pulled into the national political debate in this way. “I think for a party to try to use that to try to further their political agenda is just wrong,” Kowall said.

A Gold Star family is one that has lost a loved one during military combat. “Prior to this incident, a lot of people didn’t even know what a Gold Star family member was, which is very, very sad,” Kowall said.

She says she has spoken to other Gold Star families about this part of the political debate and she believes they seem to be divided on party lines, with Democrats supporting the Khan family and Republicans supporting Trump.

It’s not the way she wants her son to be remembered. “My son died for our freedom, not for the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, but he died for our freedom,” Kowall said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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