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Thursday, October 23, 2008
This commentary is long overdue. It is about time that members of the mainstream media start addressing this ignorance that is rampant in our country. Even though I read this piece almost a week ago, it did not prompt me to speak out. The catalyst that brought me here was Colin Powell's appearance on "Meet the Press" this past weekend.
Colin Powell spoke about how certain groups of people in this country are demonizing Muslim-Americans and how he felt strongly that this is completely absurd. Then, he spoke about a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in Iraq recently and that really hit home for me. It hit home for several different reasons. As a Muslim-American, I have been infuriated on how we have been constantly attacked and how this blatant racism can exist in the 21st Century. As an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran myself, I get frustrated by the individuals who never took it upon themselves to serve this country in uniform as SPC Khan and I have, yet we get attacked and our patriotism questioned.
In my family, we have three military Veterans who have served this country, which is more than the average American family. I decided that I wanted to serve this country while I was in high school, so I enrolled in Army ROTC because I believed then, as I still do today, that there is no profession that is more honorable than being a military Officer. I received my commission as a Field Artillery Officer in September of 2001 and was on active duty by November of 2001. A year and half later, I was in the middle of Iraq leading my Soldiers on countless combat missions and doing my best to bring them home safe.
Most people do not know that SPC Khan is not the first Muslim-American to be killed in Iraq. There are countless Muslim-Americans who serve our Armed Forces, along with our local law enforcement agencies.
So this final message is to all the ignorant and uneducated bigots in our great nation: If you don't have a DD-214, please don't question my patriotism. Better yet, if you don't even know what a DD-214 is, please keep your mouth shut!!!