Children of fallen receive medals in Ceremony of Remembrance
A well-wisher greets Tiffany Owen as her daughters Kylie, right, and Kayci, left, look on following the Ceremony of Remembrance June 12 at Cavalry Parade Field. Tiffany’s husband, Staff Sgt. Kirk Owen, was killed Aug. 2, 2011, in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an IED. At the time of his death, Owen was serving with the 45th IBCT and attached to the 1st Inf. Div. Kylie and Kayci were presented medals of remembrance in honor of their father during the June 12 ceremony.
Story by: Mollie Miller
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Talking to reporters isn't as scary as it used to be for Kylie Owen.
In the almost 11 months since her father was killed in Afghanistan, the pretty 16-year-old from Oklahoma said she has probably talked to at least four or five.
"I want to make sure everyone remembers my dad," she said. "That's why I talk to them."
Kylie's dad, Staff Sgt. Kirk Owen, was killed Aug. 2, 2011, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. At the time of his death, Owen was serving with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and attached to the 1st Infantry Division. "My dad was good at what he did and he loved his job," Kylie said. "He was a perfect Soldier."
The 1st Inf. Div. Family gathered June 12 during a Ceremony of Remembrance at Fort Riley's Cavalry Parade Field to remember Kylie's "perfect Soldier" and to honor Kylie and 13 other children whose fathers have fallen while serving with the "Big Red One."
"There is no question about the level of sacrifice that these young people and their Families have made," said Garrison Commander Col. William Clark. "Only the fallen warriors, the people they call dad, have made a greater one. These children are their legacy – a beautiful reminder of lives well lived."
As a late afternoon sun moved slowly across the Cavalry Parade Field, each child of a fallen Big Red One Soldier stood in the shadow of the Old Bill statue to receive a medal of remembrance – a simple gold disk on a blue ribbon inscribed with the words "Fort Riley Remembers."
Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley, said the ceremony honored the division's fallen warriors by honoring the children for whom they fought.
"These are the children of good men – men whose lives ended too early," he said. "May each of you take comfort in knowing that your nation will never forget (your sacrifice). We will always honor and cherish the legacy of service that your dad left behind."
Kylie said she is going to keep the medal with her to serve as a constant reminder that people care and will never forget about her dad.
"It's a big deal to know that people still treat you like you are part of the group," she said. "This makes you realize that you are not alone and that people still care about you."
Kylie's mom, Tiffany, said knowing their Army Family still remembers her husband and honors his sacrifice and the sacrifice made by his little girls helps get them through each day.
"So many people have been touched by (Kirk), and I hope my husband knows that he left a great legacy," she said.