U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan's infantry unit was guarding the gates to their base in Iraq 12 years ago when a suspicious vehicle approached. Khan, a Muslim-American soldier, took 10 steps toward the car before it exploded, killing him. Khan's sacrifice, posthumously awarded with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was on full display at the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention.
The timing was almost certainly coincidental, and yet, somehow perfect. Last night, Donald Trump campaigned in Iowa, where he assured voters he's right about bringing back torture and blocking refugees fleeing terrorist violence.
Khizr Khan, the father of the fallen 27-year-old captain, told the audience in Philadelphia, "Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son, 'the best of America.' If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America."
Khan, standing alongside his wife, reached into his pocket and pulled out a copy of the U.S. Constitution. "Let me ask you," Khan said, addressing Trump directly. "Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law.'
"Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America -- you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."
In brief and memorable remarks, Khan didn't just push back against Trump's bigotry, he also laid waste to Trump's twisted understanding of patriotism.
As he concluded, Khan urged his fellow immigrants "to honor the sacrifice of my son, take the time to get out and vote." By some accounts, "register to vote" spiked as a Google search immediately after Khan spoke.
Americans heard from quite a few high-profile speakers at the two major-party conventions, but when it comes to sheer emotional weight and resonance, no one topped Khizr Khan.