KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gibbs Middle School is honoring Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss and the other 12 service members killed in last Thursday’s attack at the Kabul Airport during its football game Wednesday against Farragut. The game’s announcer asked on Facebook on Tuesday night for American flags for all of the players.
Farragut is joining in with the ceremony through a banner honoring Knauss and their head coach jumped on the plan for players to carry flags.
“So now we’ll have 13 flags on the Gibbs side, but we got 13 flags on the Farragut side and those 26 boys will come to the middle and we’ll do Scottish bagpipes, ‘Amazing Grace’ and then Farragut’s got a presentation that I’m going to read for their banner. And then we’ll do the moment of silence,” announcer Rick Lowe said.
Knauss went to Gibbs schools and his parents still live in the area. His father shared with us that Knauss wanted to join the military since he was a child. His family says they have been stunned by the community support they have received. The gesture by Gibbs Middle is the latest of many. On Saturday, the Gibbs Eagle youth football team paid tribute to him.
“This is about the soldiers and the sacrifice that they gave that we can go out and have the privilege to do something we love, like play a football game with middle school kids and for us to be able to honor that is a privilege and an opportunity that we don’t take for granted. And secondly, we’ve taken a lot of time this week to, as a toned-down version, explain to our kids what’s going on and what the situation is why this event is so important,” Zack Beeler, GMS offensive coordinator, said. Beeler graduated with Knauss.
The original post asking for flags has been shared more than 60 times. The ceremony will take place between the junior varsity and varsity game at Gibbs High School. The junior varsity game starts at 6:30 p.m.