Body of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss returns to East Tennessee
East Tennesseans lined the procession route as the body of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, a Knoxville native who died in the Kabul airport bombing in August, was escorted from the airport to Mynatt Funeral Home.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss made a final trip home Thursday morning and was welcomed home by hundreds of East Tennesseans. His body landed at McGhee Tyson Airport around 10:30 a.m. and was transported in a procession to Mynatt Funeral Home.
Staff Sgt. Knauss was one of 13 United States servicemembers who died in a bombing at the Kabul airport during the United States’ hasty withdrawal. He was helping people leave Afghanistan.
The procession made its way through Sgt. Knauss’ hometown and past the football field at Gibbs High School, which Sgt. Knauss attended. East Tennesseans showed support by standing along the route with flags and family members. Traffic was halted on several local streets and highways to make way for the procession, which saw a large turnout from supportive Knoxvillians.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s SmartWay Cameras offered a look at bystanders as they stopped in the middle of their commutes to pay respects to the fallen soldier as he was driven by.
Kari Fry, a Knoxville resident who checked her two children out of school for the event, spoke to WVLT News.
“I think it’s important for them to see how great of a country we have and what it means to serve our country and give your life for our country. I want them to know what true patriotism is,” Fry said.
Soldiers and Airmen of the Tennessee National Guard honored Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss at the McGhee Tyson Airport as part of his dignified arrival.
“Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and fellow service members of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss,” said Col. Lee Hartley, 134th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Soldiers and Airmen of the Tennessee National Guard were present today to ensure honor, respect, and dignity were afforded to Sergeant Knauss and his family.”
As a Staff Sergeant in the Army’s 82 Airborne division, Ryan had been in Afghanistan for about a week before the suicide bombing took his life, and the lives of 12 other American servicemembers. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery after his homecoming.
Those closer to home also honored SSG Knauss, his teacher calling him a hero.
“Lots of ‘yes sirs’ and ‘no sirs’ very respectful”, says Dean Harned, adding, “There is no better representative of the Gibbs community than Ryan. He was the greatest among us.”
Those who could not attend this procession but would like to show support are invited to watch a second procession Saturday and attend a public memorial service at Gibbs High School.
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