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article imageThe Photo That Moved Colin Powell

By Jason Li     Oct 21, 2008 in Politics
Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) spoke of being moved by a photo essay on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday. Here's more about the Muslim soldier who died in Iraq for the American dream.
This is the photo that reminded Colin Powell of what it means to be American.
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 the Star of David, it had 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. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.
He mentioned the picture because he felt disappointed in the way the Republican Party has been responding to mistaken notions of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama being a Muslim.
Powell feels that more should be done besides clarifying the fact - that Obama is, and always has been, Christian.
Instead, Powell said: "The really right answer is - what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no."
He then pointed to the aforementioned photo essay.
Spc Kareem Khan from Ocean County was twenty years old when he - and three other soldiers - died from wounds sustained in an explosion on Aug 6, 2007.
According to his parents, serving his country was Khan's dream come true.
"From a boy, that's all he wanted to be. A soldier," his stepmother said.
"The Army was his life," his father added.
He was originally slated to return a month earlier, but his term was extended due to the troop surge in Baghdad. If he was unhappy, he didn't show it.
Instead, he would send pictures of his life in the war-torn country, many showing his interaction with local children. There are pictures of him playing soccer with them, and one has him holding a child to his hip.
He also had a strong sense of purpose.
His father said: "He told us many times that whatever they were doing is working."
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