ASHE COUNTY — In the weeks following the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at Kabul Airport which claimed the lives of 13 American service members and about 90 Afghans, many back home have shown their support for the U.S. military in the form of makeshift memorials honoring the fallen.
From candlelight vigils in Washington D.C., to bouquets of flowers left at the gates of Camp Lejeune, memorials sprang up all over the county in the wake of the devastating attack. Locally, a handful of businesses set up their own memorials, putting aside tables reserved for the fallen or setting out 13 beers, each one representing a service member who was killed during evacuation operations in Afghanistan.
Of the 13 service members killed in the Kabul attack, two had been stationed in North Carolina. Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, a 23 year-old soldier from Corryton, Tenn., had been assigned to 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) out of Fort Bragg.
Likewise, 23-year-old Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole Gee from Sacramento, Calif., had been assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune.
Those interested in helping the families of service members who have been killed in the line of duty can donate to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) at www.taps.org/support.
TAPS provides comfort, care and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one.