Taking Those Ten Steps

Taking Those Ten Steps

Ten steps. That is what a twenty-seven year old soldier, Captain Humayun Khan, took–ten steps away from his men and toward a vehicle packed with improvised explosive devices (IED’s). Telling his men to STAY BACK, he approached the vehicle at the gate to a military compound insuring that his moving forward would incite the enemies in the vehicle. They instantly detonated the bombs–his ten steps moved the explosion away from 100 soldiers on one side of the gate and more than 200 people milling the open street on the other side of the gate.

Humayun Khan died. He was awarded posthumously the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He was buried, like all military heroes, in Arlington National Cemetery.

I learned about this hero from his father, who also shared this: Humayun Khan came to the United States when he was two-years-old. His father said: This country made him what he was.

Those words have stayed with me. Our country, this country, the schools Captain Khan attended, the boys and girls he played with, the neighborhood he lived in, the books about Thomas Jefferson that he read, the ROTC that he joined at the University of Virginia where he earned his college degree–all of this, his father said, MADE HIM WHAT HE WAS. Made him a hero, a man dedicated to his team, a man that made sure that he protected those under his watch. A man who sacrificed for his country.

Captain Khan’s father also used the word STEWARDSHIP. Reader, If you don’t mind, here’s the definition: an ethic that embodies being responsible and protecting something. Khan protected his men and worked to serve his country.

I am proud of my husband’s and my three children, proud of the lives they lead. Proud of the people they have chosen to love and the grandchildren they have produced. And now I have a whole new way of thinking about why they are responsible people who: serve and love their families and friends, work hard to support their lives, continue to educate themselves about life–all aspects of it, protect the environment, help those who need help on many different levels, and have faith and appreciate life’s gifts–nature, art, music, literature.

It’s not simply about what their parents gave them. It’s because they have thrived in an atmosphere of freedom and peace which America has given them. And I know they want that for everyone on our planet.

Captain Khan’s statement that his son is a hero because living here MADE HIM WHAT HE WAS–should be words each of us ponder and hold close. No matter who we are–in all our diverse and amazing ways–we need to now and again TAKE TEN STEPS FORWARD and help someone, compliment someone, weep with someone, and praise someone. And I’ll repeat again what a wise woman once told me–feeling down, confused, angry? Go out and help someone else. It will make your day and beyond.

Photos: CNN

Taking Those Ten Steps

33 thoughts on “Taking Those Ten Steps

  1. Dear BOOMER HIGHWAY…..Humayun Khan and his family have touched a chord in the hearts of Americans that has lifted them up. Made them proud of our country and all the immigrants that we welcome to our shores and into our lives. Proud that they are a part of the fabric of this country. And no political pundit can take that away from us, as it is one of the richest parts of our history as a country. Thanks, Beth, for shining a light on this for all of us, without any political overtones…..Bill

  2. Loved this – what a fine young man he was – and what a shame he didn’t live to pass that legacy on even further. We need a world full of men of valour and a lot less cowards with bombs or guns.

  3. I’ve been thinking that “ten steps forward” should be America’s motto. We are a country that has done best when we looked to the future.

    And I can’t imagine being brave enough to do what he did

  4. That was a moving speech and what a loss for his parents and the world. His memory and valor is a great example for all of us.

  5. The Khans made a profound statement at the convention and my heart goes out to them for the courage and sympathy for their loss. The conversation about inclusion must continue. Thank you for this lovely tribute.

    • Thanks, Helene. I find their courage and their ability to speak out thrilling. Beth

    • Thanks, Rena. I think the reason they spoke up was because of the great pride they have in their son, Beth

  6. I watched the video and was so moved by what his father said. Thank you for sharing more of the story. I hope that this can move more people to realize that we are all the same, despite our religion.

  7. So true, we are all one. The Khan’s are a brave and beautiful family who deserve nothing but our respect. Thanks for sharing the rest of the story, Beth.

  8. Beautifully written. Thank you.

    I don’t know who the wise woman was that gave you that advice, but it’s the same advice my dad gave all nine of his children.

    • Hi Adela, I’m sure my mother said something similar to me throughout my life. But the woman was actually someone who came to help me clean my house in Iowa. I was going through a very tough time and she could tell. So she sat me down and EXPLAINED it to me. I will always be grateful.

  9. Absolutely. Yes, taking those ten steps make him a hero but getting to that point in his life, that took the hard work, love, determination and perseverance of wonderful, dedicated parents. Family of heroes here, I think. Beautiful post. I see you’re a grandmother too. I’d be happy to gift you a free subscription to GRAND Magazine. (I don’t own it but I’ve been working with them and they’ve given me the ability to gift subscriptions to anyone I hope will enjoy it.) I think you’ll like it. If you want to subscribe just go to http://www.grandsub.com and put in an email. It’s a digital magazine and the next issue has a cover story with Hillary so it’ll be worth reading!

    • Thanks so much for your comment and your support, Debby. Going there now to sign up. Beth

      • Lovely. When the next issue comes out, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Actually the current issue has a pretty cool cover story too — a grandma who’s a world champion boxer! If any of your readers would like to subscribe they can also go to the site I gave you and sign up. I don’t want anyone to miss the next issue!

  10. What a beautiful tribute to an exceptional young man. If there’s any good that has come out of Trump’s despicable, tone-deaf response to the Khans, it is that so many Americans now know this soldier’s story. Peace.

  11. Dear Beth, thanks for sharing this amazing, incredible and courageous story. Taking Ten Steps Forward are powerful words, they give new meaning to taking one step at a time which is what I try to live by. It reminded me of this. When my husband was in Vietnam, he jumped out of his jeep just seconds before a bomb went off….I am glad I didn’t learn about that till he was safely home. I am proud of who he was, and to this day miss his bravery but am reminded to keep on keeping on… when I need it most. I hope to share your post with a friend who will also be very proud of this young man Khan…if that’s ok.

    • Oh Carol, thank you. AND PLEASE SHARE. Share away. This post has gotten quite a bit of traffic and though it helps me, more importantly it makes a point that everyone in this country needs to hear. This is America and anyone who sacrifices for us needs to be honored. Like your husband, there should always be crowds of grateful Americans lined up to acknowledge what he did for the U.S. and for each one of us. Beth

  12. Hi Beth! I’m just finally getting a chance to stop by, read this, and comment. Thank you so much for writing it and reminding us all that when we choose to do our best and share our good with others we are ALL lifted higher. Humayun Khan was an amazing man who touched more people with his young life than most do in a long life. Thank you for sharing this.~Kathy

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