What Gold Star families know and Donald Trump doesn't

Story highlights

  • Ryan Manion Borek: No one can know Gold Star families' pain without suffering such a loss
  • Comparing "your" sacrifices to those of Gold Star families is un-American, she says

Ryan Manion Borek's brother, Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq on April 29, 2007. She is president of the Travis Manion Foundation, which assists veterans and families of the fallen. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.

(CNN)Gold Star families come from all different backgrounds and grieve in many different ways, but we all share one thing in common as we go through this process -- the hope that our loved ones will never be forgotten.

When I saw Capt. Humayun Khan's parents take the stage last week, I was happy to see that there was light being shed on Gold Star families. There has been a lot of talk from both sides on what they will do for our returning veterans, but neither campaign has made any mention of how they would support the families left behind when their warriors don't make it home.
Ryan Manion Borek
Many times Gold Star families can feel isolated because they no longer share that connection to the military community.
    Khan's parents had the incredible opportunity to share their son's story with the world -- an inspiring story of Muslim immigrants who came to this country to make a better life for themselves and their family.
    Their son embraced everything that is beautiful about America, so much so that he put on a uniform to protect and defend it.
    Travis Manion
    No matter what side of the aisle you are on you cannot deny the fact that this is what makes this country so great.
    After the appearance by Khizr and Ghazala Khan, social media blew up with the deep appreciation that they so much deserved, and it was rewarding for me to see that their story was making headlines. I thought nothing of the fact that Ghazala Khan did not speak but rather stood there as her husband shared their story.
    I can think back on several occasions where my parents were able to share my brother's story and my mom stood proudly next to my dad as he spoke. No one can understand a mother's grief, and the fact that she had the courage even to stand on that stage is remarkable.
    I will never forget April 29, 2007, a day that started as a family barbecue at my parents' home. This day that started out so great ended with a nightmare from which my family would never awake.
    When that knock came, my mom slammed the door so hard that the bottom hinge broke off. My dad whom I had never seen cry in my entire life broke down into tears, and I looked into the eyes of my young daughter and realized that she would never know her uncle and my best friend. Many people have been there for us in the wake of his loss almost 10 years ago. Many have sympathized with our incredible loss, but no one but those who have experienced this loss can truly understand what it is like.
    Khizr Khan's powerful DNC speech (Full speech)
    Khizr Khan's powerful DNC speech (Full speech)


      Khizr Khan's powerful DNC speech (Full speech)


    Khizr Khan's powerful DNC speech (Full speech) 06:03
    I don't personally know the Khan family, but I know the Khan family. I know what they have been through over these last 12 years. I know that they want the world to know their son's story of service and sacrifice, and I know that they could have never imagined that their story would be politicized in the way that it has.
    Here is the bottom line -- unless you have personally lost someone in the perils of war, you have no business saying anything but "thank you for your loved one's service and I am sorry for your loss."
    Comparing your "sacrifices" to those whose loved ones have given their all is not only wrong, it is un-American and goes against everything for which this great nation stands.
    I will never stop fighting to make sure that these brave warriors' stories are told in the hope that we as a country can live by their ideals of service, and I will never stand by and watch one of these families be attacked for sharing their story. We live in this incredible democracy where we can think differently and have different ideas about how we see the world, but there is one thing we should all agree on, that Gold Star families deserve nothing but our deep respect and appreciation.
    The next time I am visiting my brother at Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, I will make a point to stop by Capt. Humayun Khan's gravestone and thank him for his ultimate sacrifice.