MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.. (KTVU) - The two families have never met, but Karen Meredith of Mountain View understands the pain of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, who lost their son Army Captain Humayun Khan when he was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber on June 8, 2004.
She lost her own son Army Lieutenant Ken Ballard just one week earlier on Memorial Day 2004. Ballard also was killed in Iraq.
"I found out after he was killed that he would call me after he came back from a mission, kind of to touch base with mom," Meredith said, her voice breaking with emotion as she remembered her only child.
"We all say we're in a club that no one wanted to join," Meredith said, referring to the Gold Star military families who have all lost a loved one in war.
Meredith says when the Khan family got up to speak about their son at the Democratic National Convention, her heart went out to them.
"We're in the same row in Arlington. He's about 20 stones away from my son," said Meredith.
Now, Meredith and other Gold Star families are stepping into the battle brewing between Donald Trump and the Khan Family. On Monday, they posted a letter to Trump on the website VoteVets.org.
Meredith says they are upset over Trump's comments that he too has sacrificed and that Mrs. Khan didn't speak at the Democratic National Convention because she is Muslim.
"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably -- maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say," Trump said in a televised interview over the weekend.
"It was so upsetting and that's the first time in a long time that I'd cried," Meredith said.
Meredith says the letter posted Monday on the VoteVets.org website includes 23 Gold Star families from across the nation. The letter states "Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know...Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant, and personally offensive to us. When you question a mother's pain, by implying that her religion, not her grief, kept her from addressing an arena f people, you are attacking us."
"I am not speaking for all Gold Star families. There are some families that support Donald Trump," Meredith said.
She added that Trump, who also has criticized war veteran John McCain should show more respect.
"Trump needs to apologize and he needs to understand if he wants to become our Commander in Chief, he has to have some respect for military families," Meredith said.
Republican lawmakers and veterans groups hastened to disavow Donald Trump's repeated criticism of the Khan family Monday.
Arizona Senator John McCain, who was taken prisoner during the Vietnam War said in a statement, "I cannot emphasize enough.. how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus also spoke out in support of the Khan family.
Late Monday night, Trump seemed to back down slightly from his stance, posting a tweet saying, "When-ever you have the gold star families... These are great people, great families, frankly."