Image copyright Kmamooma /Ngozi/Caters Image caption One of our own Gurkha veterans paid tribute to our best friends on Thanksgiving Thursday
It’s been almost a month since Khirullah Faisal, an Afghan translator, gave a peace and thanksgiving speech for his daughters’ education.
What the poignant occasion meant to Mr Faisal will never be forgotten.
It’s the first time he’s been on Thanksgiving since 9/11.
His daughters’ education has been a priority since they arrived in the US, when their father joined them.
At first, the Faisals lived with Khirullah’s brother. But their new home provided a support network of the best kind.
“US veterans helped my family. In Afghanistan we went through bad war with the Taliban and all these kinds of things, the difficulties, and US veterans became my strength, they supported me and the girls with their help, also the Pakistani and Bangladeshi veteran’s help. We get so much aid and many things from these veterans,” says Khirullah.
“Last Thursday morning, when I was returning from work, I met a gentleman who lives a few blocks away from me, and he just said to me, you are a special people, you are the people that help Afghanistan, even the American veterans.
“I thought to myself, ok, I’ve been in a war, I’ve been through a lot. These veterans are special too,” he says.
That sense of gratitude was reciprocated by what we then discovered to be Mr Faisal’s grand scheme.
“Every good time I get, I would give a couple of hundred dollars each month, because I wanted to send them to college, I wanted to send them to high school. I was working towards it because they deserve a college education. Now with this new chance, I want to give the whole month to my daughters, in November, we give them $300 for their books, every month,” he says.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Khirullah’s daughters’s education has been a priority since they arrived in the US
“We plan to go to an Ivy League university, a university that could give them an education. My wife’s full name is Shibpara K. Faisal, and I feel that I have been doing everything because my wife is very ambitious. She wanted her children to achieve something. I started telling her I was going to finish college but she told me my daughters have education, we should finish college, I know how hard it is, but I want for them to succeed. I know it is very difficult but I really want them to succeed, they have to finish college.
“Now we talk about my girls’ education every time I get a good day. Now my family will be happy. We will see a different America, I know what happened last September 11. We feel that it will be blessed one day because we are going to be thankful to America for helping us.”
We won’t lie – a war is painful, particularly when there’s a bombing attack on someone’s home. But what gives dignity and pride is everyone pulling together to achieve their goals.
We see that in Afghanistan and other countries that suffer war, and in that spirit we express our gratitude for our heroes and veterans, a group that have served and continue to serve, in spirit if not in body, fighting for our freedom, giving back, doing whatever they can, every chance they get.
The young Afghan translator is a natural leader and exemplifies the characteristics that apply to every veteran.
Today he’ll face his biggest challenge yet. How will he deal with a freezing November? We want to go to his “rurals” who will see him and the recognition that a few hundred dollars will bring them.
“I was supposed to be away in the military from the NATO deployment, but my daughter Aisha came and we were in Texas, and she said, ‘Let’s go to a town like Houston, so we can be here during Thanksgiving’,” says Khirullah.
“I love America; for my daughter to travel to visit this beautiful America, and her friends, America gave me a new chance for my life.
“America has been very, very good to me, and we love America.”
One girl’s dream for an immigrant America