Sixteen-month-old Braylon Knox wiggled in his grandma’s arms Monday as she and Braylon’s mother, Courtney, unveiled his father’s name.
Etched in shiny metallic gold on the side of the monument was the newest name added to the DeKalb County Courthouse honored heroes list – U.S. Army Sgt. JaBraun Steven Knox.
Knox, 23, was killed in Afghanistan on May 18.
“It still hurts,” said his mother, Kelly Knox, as she wiped away tears. “It’s been nine months, but it still hurts every time there’s a first of something or a dedication or a reminder.”
During Monday’s ceremony, the Knox family was presented a proclamation from the Indiana House of Representatives. Together they removed the flag covering JaBraun’s name as the crowd of supporters stood in silence around them.
Knox had served in the Army for more than three years and was based at Fort Lewis, Wash. He had previously been deployed to Iraq.
He had been stationed in Afghanistan since November 2011 with the First Battalion 377th Field Artillery Regiment when he was killed by an enemy rocket that struck an area where extra shells were stored.
Dozens of veterans and community members surrounded the monument and the Knox family inside the courthouse Monday.
Kenneth Knox shook hands with many of the veterans, thanking them for showing support for his son.
“It’s so heartwarming and so reassuring to know that no matter when it is or where it is, these men don’t forget their fallen brothers,” he said. “It’s a bond that others just don’t have.”
Courtney Knox said she was surprised but happy with the approximately 100 people who gathered to celebrate her husband’s life.
“I had no idea there would be so many people here,” she said. “It’s really touching to see so many people here to support us and to support JaBraun.”
The couple met at DeKalb High School. They dated throughout college and, in 2009, were married.
Courtney Knox said she’s thankful for the outpouring of support from their hometown of Auburn and the surrounding communities.
“Even now, I get cards in the mail just to say, ‘we’re thinking of you,’ and people come up to me all the time,” she said. “ … It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine and at first I was afraid that he would be forgotten.
“But this is just another reminder that people still think about him. That means a lot to me.”
- Photo gallery from the memorial