During his much-discussed appearance today on Meet the Press, Colin Powell gave a moving account of a 20-year-old American who was killed in Iraq:
Powell's words -- and my own thoughts on why this is relevant to a sports web site -- are below.
Powell said this:
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It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have a Star of David, it had the crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.
That made me curious about Khan, and I was struck by the fact that on the Arlington National Cemetery's online memorial to Khan, his love of the Dallas Cowboys is mentioned as an important facet of his life. To me, it's a reminder that football connects us as Americans in a way that almost nothing else in our culture can. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan was an exceptional American who loved nothing more than to spend his Sundays doing what tens of millions of us ordinary Americans do.
The photo Powell referred to is here.