Correction: The measure currently renames a McCormick Road site. However, legislators are working to rename the Wise St. post office instead.
President Donald Trump has named a Charlottesville post office for Army Capt. Humayun Khan, a fallen University of Virginia graduate.
Virginia Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine said in a joint statement late Friday night that the president signed H.R. 3184, which was filed by Rep. Tom Garrett, R-5th, in July 2017.
The law renames the Barracks Road Shopping Center post office, at 2150 Wise St., as the “Captain Humayun Khan Post Office.” Khan, 27, died in Baqubah, Iraq, on June 8, 2004, when a vehicle packed with improvised explosives drove into the gate of his compound. The only UVa alumnus to be killed in action during the Iraq War, he was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. In their statement, Warner and Kaine said Khan’s actions saved the lives of more than 100 soldiers.
“Captain Khan is revered not only in Charlottesville, but across the nation,” the senators said. “With the dedication of this post office, we’re showing the Khan family that we’re forever grateful for his service and sacrifice for our country.”
“We can never repay the sacrifice of #CaptainKhan,” Garrett tweeted, “but a grateful nation will continue to remember and honor you. Thank you to my colleagues & @realDonaldTrump for helping to get this over finish line!”
Khan’s parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan of Charlottesville, gained national attention when they spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, criticizing then-candidate Trump for proposing that Muslims be barred from entering the country. Khizr Khan then questioned whether Trump had read the U.S. Constitution.
“I saw him,” Trump later said of the speech. “He was very emotional and probably looked like a nice guy to me. His wife … if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say.”
Writing in The Washington Post, Ghazala Khan said Trump’s assertion was not true. “My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not.”
Trump later called Capt. Khan a “hero” in a written statement but reiterated his proposal to prevent Muslims from entering the country.
“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son,” he added, “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”
At the time, Garrett supported the proposed ban but said that he wished that “the tone of the rhetoric had been different.” While debating Democratic opponent Jane Dittmar in 2016, he said Trump’s criticism of the family went too far and that “Humayun Khan is every bit as much or more of a hero than any one of those young men and women with whom I served.”
In January 2017, then-Mayor Mike Signer declared Charlottesville a “capital of the resistance” to Trump’s administration following the president’s travel ban, which was later overturned. At an event, Khizr Khan called on residents to help refugees who were impacted.
“Speak wherever you can,” he said. “Stand next to your brother and sister so that they will not be harmed.”
In May 2017, UVa unveiled a plaque on the Rotunda honoring alumni killed in Iraq — as it has for other wars in which alumni were killed. Khan’s name is the only one on the plaque.
A month later, the university established The Capt. Humayun Khan Memorial Bicentennial Scholarship, a $10,000 annual scholarship based on need that goes to one student each year.
Khizr Khan said at the scholarship’s announcement that he wanted to help the university that helped shape his son into a leader. “He always said coming to the University of Virginia was the best decision he made.”
In July, Trump signed a bill by Garrett designating a Palmyra facility as the U.S. Navy Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby Post Office. Rigsby was killed on June 17, 2017, when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan.
Garrett is planning to hold official ceremonies for both post offices.