Former Silver Spring resident Khizr Khan stood quietly in the White House Thursday afternoon as President Joe Biden placed the Medal of Freedom around his neck.
Khan is a Gold Star father whose son was killed in Iraq. Born in Pakistan, he came to America with his then-young sons to experience democracy as a lover of the U.S. Constitution, a document he carries in his pocket whereever he goes.
Biden praised Khan for “fully believing in the promise” of this country, noting that they both shared the agony of losing a son to war. In November of 2016, then-Vice President Biden invited Kahn to his residence to participate in a the celebration of a Hindu holiday.
“We were parents united by the pain of losing a piece of our souls,” Biden said.
Khan was one of 17 people receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. The award is given to those who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.