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WATCH: Procession for fallen soldier Ryan Knauss passes through Fairfax County

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 9/17/2021 Heather Graf

A somber salute to a hero Thursday afternoon passed through Northern Virginia during a procession for one of the U.S. military members killed in Afghanistan.

Caption: The remains of fallen U.S. Army SSG Ryan Knauss, one of the U.S. military members killed in Afghanistan, passes through Fairfax County. (7News)

7News has confirmed the procession was for fallen U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, who will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  Sgt. Knauss was one of 13 American troops killed in an August attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

Brett Cecil wearing a uniform © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.

Fairfax County Police said anyone wishing to show their respects "is asked to be present on the overpasses along the route", which will travel from I-66 East to I-495 South.

"When we heard about this hero who was killed in action in Afghanistan and we found out that he was traveling through our home in Fairfax County, we knew right away we had to find a way to pay tribute," said Police Chief Kevin Davis.  

His officers lined every overpass in the county as the procession arrived in Fairfax County shortly after 3 p.m.

The Fairfax County Police Department also had motorcycles escorting the hearse on the ground, and its helicopter flying high above.

Fairfax County Fire & Rescue paid tribute as well, hoisting an American flag in the air on the Monument Drive overpass above Interstate 66.

Fire Chief John Butler reflected on his time serving as a U.S. Marine.

"As a Marine who is no longer active duty, and as a fire chief, these two worlds have come together," said Chief Butler.  "Also serving in combat zones and seeing a lot of my colleagues who died in the line of duty, every time one of these things happened, it hits home."

Community members joined first responders for the somber salute, many of them emotional as the procession passed by.

"For what he did for our country," said Christin Millard, holding back tears as she spoke about Sgt. Knauss and the 12 other service members who died alongside him.  "They believed in something bigger than themselves.  And for what they did, for their sacrifices, we are eternally grateful for that.  This is just a little snippet of what I can do to honor him and his family."

Sgt. Knauss grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee.  He was 23 years old.

The sheriff there said his office would be assisting with the escort as Sgt. Knauss is brought from Tennessee to a funeral home in Alexandria.

Sgt. Knauss is set to be buried September 21 at 1 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery.


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