KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A memorial service and plaque dedication will be held next month in honor of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, an East Tennessee native who was one of 13 U.S. servicemembers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan during the withdrawal of U.S. forces last year.
The memorial will take place Saturday, April 9, two days after what would have been his 24th birthday. It will begin at 10 a.m. with a procession led by veterans starting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Center at 734 N 4th Avenue and conclude at the Weigel’s location in Corryton next to a memorial site set up in his honor last year.
There, the memorial service will host Gibbs High School’s ROTC that will honor Ryan Knauss with a raising of the flag ceremony. A memorial plaque will be dedicated to Ryan and is permanently placed in the Weigel’s memorial garden.
“This is such a meaningful way to honor our son along with the twelve other selfless young soldiers that lost their lives serving our wonderful country,” Paula Knauss Selph, Ryan’s mother, said. “Having the opportunity to celebrate him and this great community he loved with so many of his friends, family, and other veterans provides a tremendous outlet of love and support to all who cared about him. We feel immensely blessed to have Ryan honored in this way”.
The memorial dedication is expected to conclude at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a birthday celebration at the Corryton Weigel’s, located at 740 Tazewell Pike.
The weekend will conclude with a community hike at House Mountain at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 10.
“It is because of young soldiers like Ryan who gave his life serving our wonderful country we can live in the land of the free,” Bill Weigel, chairman for Weigel’s, said. “It is with heartfelt gratitude we honor him with this permanent plaque, signifying his sacrifice. It’s a small gesture for us in a much larger picture to honor those that have so unselfishly sacrificed for all of us.”
In the event of rain, Saturday’s memorial will move to the Clear Springs Baptist Church at 7350 Tazewell Pike.