MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Months after the bombing at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan, many in East Tennessee are still making sure the 13 U.S. Military members killed are not forgotten.
Saturday, an “Honor Ride” took place in Maynardville to pay respects to one of those soldiers and an East Tennessee hero, Army Staff Sargeant, Ryan Knauss.
From the podium at the beginning of the ride, Union County Mayor, Dr. Jason Bailey quoted, “President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘and if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with a vision that let them to battle and to the final sacrifice’.”
Actions spoke louder than words on Saturday as motorcyclists hit the streets to honor the Corryton native.
“We decided to do an honor ride for all the thirteen soldiers but also to raise money for the Tri-County Veteran Honor Guard and give that money in Ryan Knauss’ name,” said April Violet, the Motorcycle Community Advocate for Garza Law Firm, PLLC.
For Army Veteran, Mathison Christopher, this ride is his way of paying his respects,
“I was active duty Army for nine years, stationed in Fort Lewis Washington, Fifth Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment.”
He adds, “being on active duty, you don’t really get to see many memorial services or things of that nature. So being able to see it first-hand does help.”
He’s part of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association out of Maryville.
“We’re a group of veterans, combat veterans that just like to ride together and support our community,” said Christopher.
He said it’s a community that takes pride in our country and honors those who serve it.
April Violet agrees,
“My experience being here in Tennessee is that these are the most patriotic people I’ve been around and it’s one of their own. He’s a hometown hero.”
Mathison Christopher said he believes Sgt. Knauss died doing what he loved, protecting our country.
Christopher said he would do it too without hesitation,
“For all of us, we knew the price if it were to happen and it’s something I’d do again.”
The ride was put together by Garza Law Firm and Pete’s Place.
Pete’s Place gave a free meal to all the veterans who participated in the ride.