Gold Star Mothers Christina Kuklin Skiles & Ghazala Khan


Early this a.m., I found a comment “buried” in my spam queue. I deem that a wrongful “death” because my obscure website would prove of little value to spammers, I’ve fact checked the comment and the emotional content tugs at the ol’ heartstrings.

Even though there’s mention of a Memorial Quilt, since there’s no link to a site to purchase it, I’m concluding there’s no financial gain angle involved.

Rather than burying this comment in a (now) nearly two-month-old posting, I’ve decided to feature Ms. Reneé A. Leon – Skiles as a guest blogger… provide her a forum for her heartfelt, patriotic, eloquently expressed sentiments… which now follow…


Memorial Quilt for the eternal Honor of all “Gold Star” Mothers: and all “Blue Star” Families. Quilt inspired by: Capt. Humayun Khan (fallen in Iraq, 2004) AND Charles Jackson Skiles, Jr., age 17 and Eugene Skiles, age 21, (both brothers fallen at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941)

It happened in an Olympic/Election year. Our Gold Star Mother, Ghazala Kahn and her husband, Khizr Khan honored their son in front of the world. That love awakened my similar past. Through her, it becomes undeniable that the loss experienced by Gold Star family members transcend race, time and political preference (except for the very ignorant). The wounds of a Gold Star Mother and her family affect future generations of family members, as does the freedoms gained from the bravery and heroism of their sons and daughters, which each of us remaining enjoy daily. The life of my father, Emmett Lee Skiles was significantly shaped by the loss of his two brothers by age 15, and the following generations.

Of significant importance in my family history and experience is the FACT THAT my Grandmother, from Richmond, Missouri, a Gold Star Mother, back in 1941 did not see her name in print; she was only identified as Mrs. Charles J. Skiles. CHRISTINA ZUKLIN SKILES (1889-1984), mother of sons and heroes Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles, also from Richmond, Missouri. Back in those early days, THIS COUNTRY did not acknowledge women as high enough on the social experience scale to refer to them by name. Women were silenced back then and existed only under the name of men in fear. I’m giving her that recognition now. I’m releasing her from standing in the shadows and giving her her name back: she is CHRISTINA ZUKLIN SKILES, my Grandmother. Advancing forward, in contrast, because of Christina’s son’s service, our beloved Gold Star Mother, Ghazala Kahn stood on a stage with her husband to be acknowledged and included for our entire world to see. That is what freedom represents and what the sacrifices accomplish. That is why their sons and daughters fought and died; for OUR FREEDOMS.

So I designed and personally made this flag quilt as an everlasting symbol to Honor these two and all Gold Star Mothers and their families, with my special thanks to Ghazala Kahn, forever a symbol for me to understand what my Grandmother, Christina Zuklin Skiles would have felt in those early, raw days after her losses and all her future days, long before my birth. Christina Zuklin Skiles would not have been able to speak one word if her two deceased hero sons were displayed behind her, in photos, on a large stage like Ghazala Kahn. Grandma Skiles would have cried inside in silence, with no words able to be spoken.

Reneé A. Leon – Skiles,
Daughter of Emmett Lee Skiles, US Army (younger brother of Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles)


My Addendum: If you fast-forward / freeze frame the above video at time index 2:41 and then look carefully (near the bottom of the middle column), you’ll spot the names of war heroes Charles J. Skiles, Jr. and Eugene Skiles.


99 Word Blog (#034) Ann Coulter’s Callousness


Dear Ms. Coulter,

Please don’t deem this a compliment. Your branding Khizr Khan “a snarling Muslim” (during your Andrew Bolt interview) makes you out to be a mean-spirited, savagely partisan, opportunistic, stick figure entity.

FYI… the Khan family is still grieving. Their young son, Humayun, died heroically in W’s fraudulent, unwarranted Iraq war… defending an America where Muslims constantly live under unfounded suspicion’s dark storm clouds… clouds roiled up by xenophobic, haughty, insensitive ingrates… such as you.

RE your private little wittle war… stand down… stop verbally abusing Khizr Khan and his family… they’ve already suffered too damned much!

Honoring Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan

First and foremost, I hope you’ve viewed the events presented in my blog’s intro clip… or are already familiar with them. Secondly, I would not be upset, in the least, if you read no further than the next paragraph. That said…

Please take a moment to honor the 27-year-young, Muslim-American Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, who while serving America in Baquabah, Iraq, defended his infantry unit against a gate crashing vehicle… sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his comrades in arms when an IED, which the car had been carrying, exploded.

Now, for those of you who are still with me…

Just for a moment, consider how you’d feel if you lost someone near and dear to you… be they soldier or civilian. If you’re one of millions like me… there’s no need to imagine. While survivors coping with the loss of loved ones is difficult, we can take some solace if the deceased had lived long enough to at least realize some of their hopes and dreams… that does help assuage our grief… allows us to gradually heal (a bit) and then (reluctantly) move on.

But what if death occurs under tragic circumstances and at an early age, the way young Captain Khan had perished? Worse yet, he (and every other soldier deployed to Iraq) had been needlessly put in harms way by a corrupt, archconservative administration loaded with chickenhawk war criminals. Worst of all is the fact that Khan had been defending a severely sectarian America… one where his being a Muslim garnered him, to put it mildly, ugly disrespect and unfounded suspicion. All of these factors have got to make his survivors’ grieving process triply difficult (if not more).

Now, let’s trade off a literal warzone for a figurative one… i.e., Captain Khan’s 2004 battle in Iraq for Clinton’s and Trump’s 2016 battle for the White House.

Here we witness hotheaded Donald Trump, who is pissed off over Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party gaining political traction from their raising awareness about Captain Khan’s valor. While Clinton’s noble intentions could, far too easily, be misconstrued as exploitation, need I remind that Humayun’s mother, Ghazala, and father, Khizr, both freely consented to appear at the Democratic National Convention?

In fact, their having stood upon the world stage to call attention to their son’s service to America AND to set the record straight that NOT ALL Muslims are terrorists… has got to help ease their grieving process. Considering the emotional pain they’ve suffered, America owes them this type of closure… indeed providing them such a forum has been twelve long years overdue.

The actual exploiter, here, is Donald Trump, himself. This is where the two presidential campaign trails drastically part ways.

Clinton is walking the compassionate high road. Hers is the voice of REASON… worthy of respect all around the civilized world.

As for Trump? He takes the lowest of the low roads imaginable. To HIM, it’s all about HIM… it ALWAYS has been about HIM… and ALWAYS shall be ONLY about HIM. His is the voice of TREASON.

He is a heartless, totally devoid of human feelings, madman… the poster boy for terrorist recruiters. He plays right into the hands of ISIS, al Qaeda, lone wolf terrorists, NRA gun nuts, autocrats, plutocrats, bigots, boneheads and other assorted, sordid miscreants and barbarians.

You see, Trump feels (if “feels” is even the operative word)… “feels” (more like worries) that if enough of his stonehearted, knuckleheaded, xenophobic, Islamophobic supporters were to become emotionally moved by the story of a selfless Muslim heroically defending America… dying in the line of duty… that this could blow even bigger holes in Donny’s entire, narrow-minded, political premise than already exist… endanger his chances of “taking out” the White House come Inauguration Day… January 20, 2017.

IF… Trump were even capable of feeling anything remotely resembling compassion… OR, at least, was intelligent… OR, if nothing else, was marginally, politically savvy… OR, at bare minimum, was capable of playacting out some, GOP orchestrated apology ploy… OR could express some of their paint by the numbers, heavily scripted, hollow sorrow… OR could muster his own too little / too late, just phone it in phony “I’m sorry”…

IF… he could halt his birdbrained crowing… remove his size 16 EEEEE foot from his mouth long enough to eat the humble pie, which we, the decent people, worldwide, have been correctly heaping upon this aristocrat’s gold plated platter…

THEN… by now, Trump would’ve honored Humayun Khan… extended his heartfelt condolences to his surviving family and friends… admitted to everyone that that Trump-one-size-fits-all type of terrorist uniform, MOST ASSUREDLY, DOES NOT fit all Muslims.

But self-centered Trump rages on and on and on. In the very acts of trying to defend his indefensible conduct, he has only served to prove how indescribably indefensible his words and deeds truly are.

As the common sense wisdom goes… when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. Hmmm… one would think that such a maxim would be well known to a “successful” businessman, such as Trump.

Does he actually believe any of his inflammatory rhetoric will douse the firestorm of mounting anti-Trump public opinion? For example, Trump tweeted…

Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our “leaders” to eradicate it!

8:57 AM – 31 Jul 2016 – New Jersey, USA, United States

See what I mean? He’s still wearing his rabble-rouser ringleader costume… he is still acting(?) like a butcher tossing more red meat to his ravenous, reptilian supporters.

Worse yet, Trump has even ridiculed Khan’s own mother for not speaking at the DNC… his bristling with intolerance insinuation being what? That Muslim women are not allowed to have a voice?

Odd that he’d attempt to trump up false charges that a religion would muzzle women when he recently silenced a woman! I mean look who’s talking… and, in this case, not talking. Check out the following clip, where a Muslim woman… Rose Hamid… not even uttering one syllable… merely standing in silent protest at a campaign rally, gets promptly removed by Trump’s own security guard.

In reality, Trump was/is ostracizing Captain Khan’s mother, who is still so grief-stricken that, had she attempted to express herself publicly at last week’s DNC, in all likelihood, she would’ve never completed the very first sentence of her speech without an accompanying flood of tears.

And, little doubt, had she wound up crying, a bleating, tweeting, raging out of control Donald Trump would now be insensitively, wildly ranting and raving… railing out against her for doing so… perhaps even claiming she was faking it.