Lt Ken Ballard, my hero!

 

Home About Ken Arlington Cemetery Arlington West Bereavement Comments 12/27/03 - 6/8/04 Comments 6/9/04- 3/27/05 Comments  5/22/05- 12/31/06 Comments 1/1/07 - Present Eyes Wide Open Favorite Links Karen Info Honoring Ken Ken in the News Life In Iraq Lt Ken Ballard Day Memorial Murfreesboro Rolling Thunder Scholarship Tatts for Ken

 

 

Click here to send comments to Ken's family 

(comments will be posted on the website)

Be sure to read the comments  12/27/03- 6/8/04     6/9/04 - 3/27/05  1/1/07- Present,

 

5.22.05

Karen Meredith

Mountain View, CA

Hey buddy-

It's your ma, (I know you know that, but I just had to make sure)

We had scheduled your Welcome Home party for one year ago today, but we know how that ended up.  Iím off to Washington tomorrow.  I thought it only proper that I spend the one year anniversary with you at Arlington.

They say there are no coincidences in life.  That we were notified that you were killed one year ago, on Memorial Day means that anyone who heard of your death will no longer think of this day as one for getting 15% off at the mall.  Memorial Day is to remember all the soldiers from all the wars that have been killed in service to this country and as a country, we must always remember.  On Monday we will honor you at Arlington with champagne and love.  We will celebrate the 26 years that we were blessed with your inimitable presence.

One year ago you were killed by a sniperís bullet.  They said you were killed instantly.  There is not a minute that goes by that I do not remember answering the phone and hearingÖ"I regret to inform you"Ö.

I want to remember what it feels like to be happy; itís been so long since I felt that way.  I am so glad we last spoke 3 days before you were killed.  I wish I knew that it was the last time, not so much for what we said- we always said what needed to be said. I know you knew how much you were loved and respected.  I know how much you loved me.  But I just wish that I could hear your voice, one more time, just to pick up the phone to hear you say ďHey Ma, itís me!Ē

How could I have known that when you left for Iraq, that was the beginning of my 384 day boot camp- to prepare me for a forever without you?  I wish I knewÖ.

I am so proud that you chose to serve your country.  And in the same thought I am so unbearably offended and angry that this administration used your goodwill, your patriotism and your values to send you to fight their illegal, immoral war of choice. We still do not know why our soldiers are there- there have been so many reasons given and for me, none of them good enough to have put this many families in this much pain. You know how hard I am working to let everyone be touched by this war.  Some days that's not easy.

I donít ask ďwhyĒ so much.  I know that no one will ever be able to give me a good enough answer to that question. Itís just that there are so many times when I wish you were here to share one of lifeís moments with me- to sit for awhile and watch the day go by,  to tell you about a CD that I know you would love, to tell you that Capt Corn & his family stopped by, that Gonzo is thinking about applying to CWO school, Stephanie is doing ok; she makes me smile and laugh, Buford & Perry are in Iraq, Tina is in Kuwait.  Lilly calls me every time he gets back from Iraq. I worry so much about all of them. Denise is doing ok, too, but how can she ever get over you? Steve and Sherri are going to be parents again. Adrian is gonna be a daddy, so is Greg Lee.  Michaela misses you so much, but not as much as me!  ;-)  Lizzie Butt is doing great in nursing school and Jbutt is back in school, too.  All of your favorite aunties feel like it is their own son that is never coming home- so do your uncles, for that matter.  Blakeyís getting married again, but you know that. You are his best man, this time in Memoriam. What do you think about all the tattoos that so many of us got in your honor?  Yes, we did!  Iím still wondering how you got me to do that!  Chris & Hank are always there when I need them and sometimes even when I donít know I need them.  So are Gary & Mary and David & Cathy.  I know Terri & Denny are missing you, too. And I am grateful for my new friends, especially Kathy & Gary.

So, you see life does go on, but life without you, well, itís just not right.  I know I got through this year with lots of love from people I know and still more love from strangers, who arenít really strangers, because in some way they have it in their hearts to be missing you, too. There are so many people, who have honored you with a quilt, a card, prayers, poems, religious services, donations to your scholarship fund (yes, the LT Ken Ballard Memorial Scholarship- can you believe that?  ;-), books, phone calls, CDís, flowers, phone calls, hugs- yeah, lots of those!, running in a marathon and a motorcycle ride, and so many tears. The media has been kind to our story and many writers and reporters work diligently to keep the story of the war on the front page. I am grateful.

We are making sure that youíll never be forgotten. Thereís a bench dedicated with your name on it and we celebrated Lt Ken Ballard Day, in Los Altos.  Students at your high school dedicated a table and a tree to you & Kyle Weiland, Trevor is making a memorial garden at his nursery. Our VFP friends down in Santa Barbara make sure that none of you guys will be forgotten, setting up the crosses every Sunday. Eyes Wide Open was a tremendous success in SF and Sacramento thanks to lots of dedicated people. Yep, and MTSU is going to build a monument for all of the soldiers from the school who died while serving their country.  Itís nice to know Iíve got places to set a spell and visit with you.

I miss you every day.  I guess I thought it would be more bearable by now. But Iíve been crying for 2 years since you left for Iraq, so Iím just tired. Iím tired of crying and tired of knowing that you are never coming home.  I know you would want us to be happy and to think of you with so much love.  I know you would be sad to see how sad we all are. I know you would want us to remember all the good times and we do.

So hereís to you, buddy.  You are missed every day.  It really is so hard trying to get used to living this life without you in it.  Don't be a stranger- it really is nice when you come by for a visit- and you don't really need to be that subtle!

love your fave ma-

================

5/25/05

Michelle

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Karen, It's been a year...A year since you got that terrible news...A year since you lost your darling boy...A year since I should have offered you words of comfort. Words that wouldn't come. What I wanted to say seemed so puny. Like nothing at all. How could I speak the grief of a Mother? I was a coward in the face of that grief. Unable to reach out to you, though I did in my heart- many times. So I said nothing. To say I am sorry for your loss...puny, empty words. To say that I ache for you. With an intensity that is physical. I rage for you. I hold G.B. personally responsible. This comes a bit closer. I CAN imagine how you feel. Every Mothers fear...That something terrible will happen to her child. Unable to protect it. Gone forever. What I can't imagine is coping the way you have. How do you keep from being consumed utterly? Where does that strength come from? I don't know if I would have it. I am in awe. So, Karen, I wish for you to find a measure of peace. And I send you love. And know that we think of Ken always. Michelle

================

5/26/05

Tonya Tesch

Ogden, Utah

Dear Karen,
   
    I just read your letter to Ken, and now I'm crying at my desk.  As another mother of a soldier in Iraq, it touches me very deeply to read, and to feel your pain.
    I still think of you and Ken every day, and I read the website often.
    It's hard to believe it was a year ago, that we finally met at Ken's service.  After supporting each other through e-mails for a year, I finally got to meet the friend that helped me get through so many days of worry and tears.  I just wish we could have met at Ken's homecoming party instead.
    I wish we lived closer, so I could be there for you.  Please know that in my heart, I am there with you, giving you a big hug.
    Memorial Day has a whole new meaning to me now, and I want you to know that I will never forget.

=============

5/30/05

Mike Peccolo
 

For some reason, not a day goes by that you do not pop into my mind. We'll just have to finish our conversations at Fiddlers Green the day I catch up to you. Picked up the last box I sent you stamped with RTS, its time I repacked it and sent it on to another soldier. Thanks for everything you have done. You've done well "fat boy".
 
MAJ Mike Peccolo, AR

=============

5/30/05

Trevor Floth

Arroyo Grande, CA

Hey Bud, its Trev again. Writing to you on this anniversary is really nothing new that I do to talk with you, because you know I talk to you everyday. Like I have said before, there isn't one day I don't remind myself of your mug and how you were a big part of my life. I just wish Monique had as much time to know you as I did, but I know she hurts too for the couple of years she knew you. The time after the news was delivered to now has been really rough, witnessed by many of the people who loved you and knew you. Sometimes, I wait for your call on the tank, or a call from you while taking leave in Europe or in the States, but I realize that the opportunity to have that physical communication with you was taken away. I believe I haven't cried for as long for anyone as you. You were taken away and never had a chance to talk with you that day, only a week before that. We always had lots to talk about, and unfortunately we couldn't talk long during that time. I know
I hurt tremendously, but I could ONLY imagine what your mom is still going through, and will go throughout her life.
On a different note of info, your memorial garden is almost complete, and I have went down the path of a permanent wildflower and ornamental grass garden. The flagpole was the first thing that was erected last year, and the plants are germinating and growing as we speak. We have
planted five European White Birch trees, three Quaking Aspen, and a Autumn Fantasy Maple for depth. You always admired the birch trees while visiting us when we were up in Oregon, and thought that would be appropriate. The only thing left is a plaque, which will be put in on your birthday. So, in all, I will post your mom with the updated pics when everything is in bloom and done, and I know you will be around to see the final stage too.
Other than that man, I want to say again that I miss you very much, too much that I still get choked up while talking about it. I am sooooooo glad so many people have paid their respect to you, and I know it means a lot to your mom that they still continue to post or write to
honor a man who fought for our freedom, fought for oppressed societies, fought with honor so strong that he took upon himself to save many of our soldiers while putting his life on the line. Ken, Monique and I love you so very much, and we honor and remember your sacrifice you gave to protect our way of life everyday, and to protect your loved ones and people you befriended along the way....Love ya bud...

Trevor Floth

===========
5/30/05

Tim Meredith

Cincinnati, OH

Kenó

It has been 365 days since Shannon called me with the words which still haunt me, which will never leave me, ďKenís been killed.Ē  At first I didnít hear her.  Then I thought I heard wrong.  I still ask myself if it can be true and I have to accept that it is. 

Life has taken me to Cincinnati for a new job, and your story is already in the minds of my new co-workers.  Your Mom was on the cover of USA Today last week and I made it a point to make sure the people I work with  know thatís who she is and what she was doing there.  I wish I could have been with her and all your Meredith Aunts this weekend in Washington.  I am with them in spirit. 

The nation honors you and your fellow heroes today.  Your family just plain misses you.

Tim Meredith

===========

5/30/05

Stephanie McMahan
Nashville, TN
 
 
Ken,  Man I can not believe it has been a year today since you have left us.  In ways it seems as if it has been eternity without you and in others it seems only yesterday I received the email from Buford saying I had to call him immediately.  Even then as my stomach and heart ached because I knew something was wrong, I tried to pretend it was not what I feared it most to be.  Part of me is still sitting in the chair holding the phone in disbelief and shock.  I know part of me will always stay in that moment in time because from that moment on my life is different and will always be different.  I still can not believe the reality I will never see you again, at least not down here.  Not a day goes by I do not think about you at least a dozen times and go through all the emotions from being angry, sad, and then thankful for at least the moments I did get to have with you.  I still practically break my neck every time I see a black Sonoma drive down the road, as if to see you behind the wheel.  Things have gone on though, as I know you would want them to.  Not to say I do not get sad often, but because I enjoyed so many moments with you, I have lots of memories that continue to make me smile.  Your Mom is doing a wonderful job preserving your memory and spreading your life to people everywhere so you continue to change people even now.  You are such a remarkable person and I know you will continue to change my life.  There have been so many times I have wanted to talk to you in order to ask your advice and get your opinion, now I can only think of what you might had said to me.  Strangely it seems I know exactly what you would say to me and sometimes it makes me laugh.  I am glad that even though you are not here physically I can still count on you to help me out.  I moved to a house now and I have a puppy.  I know you are up there laughing at me all the time because she drives me insane.  She is so hyper it is like you on Red Bull or Ben and Jerry's "From Russia with Buzz".  She is crazy sometimes and I have to fight with her, I can just see you laughing your ass off remembering how I always said I wanted a puppy.  Maybe you have been teasing her making her bite the hell out of me and go crazy?????  If so, when I get up there it is on!  I wish you were here to fight with me and pick at, no one could ever top your comebacks and crazy off the wall humor.  Well, for an update......Felix is in Iraq now and Buford will be there soon.  Felix keeps in touch often, but you know how Buford is, I know you will keep an eye out for them.  I know there are some others over there but I am not for sure who, sooner or later I guess we all will have our time in the desert.  I hope you are keeping everyone entertained up where you are at, save some fun for me whenever the time comes, quit teasing my damn dog and come visit anytime.  As you used to write in letters, "See ya on the Flip Side."

===================

5/30/05

Natalie

Tennessee

Hey Ken and family,

Wow, it is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by. I can't help
but think about you guys constantly! There is not a day that goes by
that I don't think about what a wonderful friend Ken was to me and I
miss him dearly. And on this day I remember what Ken sacrificed so that
we could live in peace. His sacrifice and his presence will never be
forgotten! I love visiting this website and looking back on Ken and
what a charismatic and memorable person he was. I can't help but laugh
and cry every time that I look at all of the pics.

Karen, I hope that you are doing well. You have done a wonderful job
keeping up this website! I think about you often and always keep you in
my prayers.

Ken, I think about you often and you and your family are always in my
prayers! I love you and miss you!

Natalie

================

5/30/05

Donna Erickson

Los Altos, CA

Today I have thought of all the brave and committed young men and women who have served

their country in such an unselfish and honorable way...I especially think of and pray for

all the soldiers I flew to Vietnam and those I flew home so many years ago.  But, today,

I prayed especially for Ken, his family, his unit and all those serving in Iraq and supporting

areas.  I pray for my son who is serving in Landstuhl, Germany and his unit as they care for

the many wounded who arrive there.  God bless each and every one of you.  Ken, although I never

met you; your aunt, Cathy kept me informed of your tour and you will be remembered in many,

many hearts forever....

================ 

June 7, 2055

Perry White

Ken,
You know man you changed my life forever sitting on the steps at Reynolds Hall the very first day at MTSU.  I remember it so clearly.  Me in my room trying to study (Whatever).  I hear this loud obnoxious person yelling outside.  It made me thank to my self is that me.  No, it was you.  I had to go down and meet this mad man for myself.  Instantly we became the best of friends. 
The very first field problem we had at MTSU I remember you laughing your ass off at me and Littlejohn walking around in combat boots, Kevlar, brown t-shirt and boxers.  We had some great times back then.
 
You know that pic of me and you at the UT game.  I am going to get Amy (my wife) to send it to your mom.  I think she will really like it. 
Well as you probably know I have gotten married.  Yeah I know a great big shock.  But, just to let you know you were invited.  I could feel you there.  You were holding me in place.  Now, here I am again, sitting in this fucking hell hole we all refer to as Iraq.  I hate it when people call it the "big sand box across the pond". It is called by the ones who frequent this place a "fucking hell hole". 
 
I remember the day I found out.  I was at Gunnery.  About to go on my Table VIII.  I had run back in and to do some paperwork and my messages were off the hook on the ole cell phone.  I called mom to find out what the problem was.  I sat there in total disbelief of what was coming out of the other end.  I couldn't talk.  My heart broke.  I tried to scream out.  The only thing that came out was my soul.  I cried for an hour and sucked it back up and went back to the field.  Just as you would have done.  I dedicated that Table VIII to you. 
I BOLOED.  I knew you had something to do with it.  You didn't want me to beat you.  But hey I forgive you. 
So man, a year has passed since you left.  Well as you probably know.  No more Tanker Boots with the new uniform the Army came out with.  But, I am still going to wear em.  I am planning on getting a set Bronzed and give them ROTC program in your honor.  I also was going to write the other guys from our class about setting up a scholarship in your name.  They never gave us anything except a hard time.  So I thought what better way to get revenge than giving a scholarship to somebody that is just like you.  Somebody with all your attributes.  So, what do you think.  Yeah I know.  Well man.  I am sorry it took so long for me to write.  I really just didn't know what to write.  Well, I am going to run.  I will see you on the flip side.  Oh yeah I am staying in.  I love this shit.  If anybody wants to contact me about anything or wants to talk.  Feel free.  wuwh_08@hotmail.com
I love you like a brother
Perry

======================

6/13/05

Adrienne Forzano, Shaw AFB, SC

Hey Ken,

Mike and Jay and I were supposed to be at Arlington on Memorial Day, but as
you know, we didn't make it. But we visited the memorial here at Shaw. Mike
wants to stop by on our way up north later this summer, says he has
something to give you. He wanted to meet you, but I guess that'll have to
wait. I still can't believe it's been a year, it still seems like it was
just yesterday. When Jay gets old enough to understand, I'll tell him all
about you. I do enjoy your occasional visits, they always make me smile. We
talk about you alot, usually in our 3 am conversations. And I think when you
and Mike do eventually meet, you'll have a lot to talk about. You take care
bud. We miss you.

Adrienne

====================

6.18.04

Michel Meredith, Campbell, CA

Hey. Kiddo!  Thought this would be a good time to write, what with your ma and Michaela dancing the night away at Blakey and Autumn's wedding.  Sure can't wait to hear what you did as best man!

(note from Karen- as we were parking the car to go into the wedding, the song playing on the radio was "Arlington" by Trace Adkins- we knew Ken was there with us!  ;-)

 
So glad you were able to join us on our little ride around the streets of Washington D.C. with 500,000 motorcycles!  I could hear you cackling with glee as Cathy waved her American flags, and we all rode down Constitution Avenue on our hogs (ok, mine was a Yamaha Roadster).  But what a blast we had!  You made it even funner.
 
What a bittersweet year this has been for us.  We've all met the most amazing, warm, lovely, generous people you could ever imagine during this past year, and all because of you.  Of course, I'd give them all up in a second to have you back with us.  But since you are having so much fun with your buddies at Fiddlers Green, we will somehow have to make do without you. although we sure do appreciate the occasional visits!  Thank you for sending all these wonderful new friends to help us along this very long and hard journey.
 
You were, and continue to be such a gift to us all - We are so lucky to have had you, even for such a short time. 

Love, your favorite aunt, Mimi  

======================

7.19.04

Audrey

The last thing Kenny said to me was, "Thank you, not for all the place I have been with you, Andrea, Gramma Marty, and the Kid's, but for the time you have spent with me and the rest of the kids." Kenny told me he had to go away to where time with loved ones was precious, to realize, that it never was the money I spent or the present he received that were of value, it was the time. He told me the other kids would realize it someday too. Then he hugged me, and I knew he had grown up, and that my time with him was coming to and end. Kenny had out grown my daughter and her friends. He was an old soul to start with. I knew it would be a few years before the rest would catch up. I just never thought it would be so close to the end of his time. He was so right, time is the most valuable thing we give our children. I count Kenny as one of my children, Thank you for sharing him with me for 4 years.

Mock Christmas, Birthdays, sweet sixteens, phone booth stuffing, toilet papering, Condom stuffing, panty raids, camping, formal dances, first kisses, Christmas lights, Corn beef and cabbage, frozen undies,  Ardenwood park, San Francisco, Dungeons and dragons, midnight bowling, PJ breakfasts, Tripoly, See's toffee, Mt dew, Jolt cola, Star Wars, driving lessons, Jubilee of Tree's, water fights, tarrot cards, the psychic circle and Blake.  They are all just memories now, but some of the best memories Grandma Marty and I have.

Kenny you were the first Can you here me know Man! And I know you can hear me now! I talk to you often just like I do Dee. But I miss the solid you! Thank God love is not measured in time, or ended in passing. We loved you  then and we love you now!
We will see you again!
Love Audrey & Grandma Marty

==============

7.21.05

Blake Highsmith

Dallas, TX

Hey Bro,
Happy Birthday!  I canít believe that the year has passed so quickly.  I still canít believe that youíre gone.  Iím still expecting the phone call or the letter to arrive telling me about how things are going.
 
Today makes me think how many birthdays I was blessed to spend with you through all the years that Iíve known you. 
 
Today also reminds me of how you showed many of us through different times in your life the many different uses that cake has!
 
I know you are watching over all of us as we think about you on your birthday and I know that you will be there for all ours.
 
And I know that on this day, like everyday, you are with all of us that love you, in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
 
Love,
Your Bro

===============

7.21.05

Trevor Floth

Arroyo Grande, CA

Happy Birthday Bud! Monique and I wanted you to know that we still celebrate this day like no other. I know you are playing tricks wherever you are now, making as much chaos as possible. Its still tough everyday, but I always find something, some memory that takes some of the pain away
for the moment. We miss too terribly,  but I will have to say bye for now,
so Happy Birthday Man! I will talk to you soon.... Love ya, Trevor and Monique

===============

7.21.05

Dennis Parham

Antelope, CA

It's your 28th birthday, Blonde Kid.  I wish so much that I was invited to a birthday party with you in attendance.  We all miss you so much.  I'm getting my first ever tattoo in your honor today.
 
Denny

==============

8.9.05

Adrian Edsall, TN

Ken
 
Or should I now call you Uncle Ken. You were the big discussion on Memorial day and the week building up to it. I didn't forget I will never forget but writing has never been my strong point as you know. Memorial day was very different this year for usually I am paying my respects to those in my family that passed in World War II and until now found that there was an American soldier Edsall that fought along side in Vietnam. I now have you to be grateful for and honor. I had planned to be here here, D.C. and show my respects but it wasn't so. Steph has already been to see you before Christmas with her mother, that was when Trey, our son, was still in her belly Now this week I will get to take my son to see his uncle Ken. To see you holding him would be magic, no you can't throw him like you did Josie when she peed on your carpet. The more I read this letter/email the more it seems scattered but as long as you understand it that is all that matters. I still have the bottle of champagne that you gave sSteph and I when we got engaged and I know I said that I was going to open it when Trey got here but I can't. I will open it when it feels right.
 
I think of you everyday and that is the truth. The british flag will never fade on my arm, I thought about getting it touched up but then that is tampering with an original. Larry is getting ready to go back to Iraq this up coming month watch over him. I always remember the time you put Larry's truck in neutral and we pushed it into the back field and threw trash all over it, it made Larry so mad but he got over it. Say hey to my grandfather up there I never got to meet him, my parents say hi, I know you still remember the time you met my mum she had just had that huge magaritta and you said that she made you laugh so hard.  
 
I will see you this week, until then I will be seeing you.

================

8.23.05

Hi Karen and Family,

I missed you Karen at the Scotts Valley Arts and Craft show, but saw your family. After seeing pictures of the balloon Release on Kens Birthday and reading the letters, I felt like writing again. Andrea stood in for Kenny as Blake's best man, and came home saying the same thing you said Karen, things kept happening that reminded her of Ken so she knew he was there. And when I saw the picture of my Grandson AJ in the Mettalica Shirt at his birthday, Grandma Marty said it looks a lot like Kenny looked (except for the binky) when he first shaved his head for summer. And sometime AJ does things that would have made Kenny laugh. And then he looks like he is talking to some invisible friend that we have to believe that Kenny put him up to it! We all  miss Kenny everyday. But we have had some off the Happiest laughs about memories, of time spent with Ken. Life may not be forever, but laughter is! Thank you Ken!
Audrey&Grandma Marty

================

8.25.05

Tim Chapman

Dear Karen,

I heard you on Air America today and so went to check out the web site for
your son. It's a lovely site that makes it obvious to the viewer that Ken
was a special person who was loved by his family and friends. Thank you for
being part of the effort to help America hear the truth about this war. If
left to us men the world will be in a state of perpetual war. I truly
believe that the strongest voice for peace are mothers who will stand up and
say, "No more of our children must die." I hope you know that there are many
of us who support your effort.

Tim Chapman

===============

8.26.05

Rommy

Hello Karen.

 I am an immigrant from Mexico, I just saw the interview you gave to the BBC
and your son story really moved my heart. You should keep talking about him
to try to awake this country is not fair that more young men and women are
dying in a war that long time ago lost its purpose.
  God Bless you.

=================

8.26.05

Karen, I wish you the best. My son attended Mountain View High School when Ken attended and  I have followed your story. Rita Nutile

=================

8.27.05

Eduardo Gomez Colombo, Argentina
Mis sinceras condolencias.Admiro la valentia y entrega por su pais.
 
Eduardo Gomez Colombo .
ciudad Santiago Del Estero
Argentina

=================

8.29.05

Jorge GonzŠlez, Caracas-Venezuela

SeŮora, solo piense en que su hijo se encuentra en los brazos de Dios y que su alma descansa en Paz (peace) al pensar que su sacrificio serŠ recompensado con la libertad de los niŮos iraquŪes.

Jorge Gonzalez

=================

8.31.05

H. GalvŠn Otro Mundo es Necesario, Dominican Republic

Hi
I am writing u from Dominican Republic
I dont speack english, i was reading the history from BBC en espaŮol.
 
Im really  sad for that happened
 
im glad for what are u doing to remember ur son, but u need to remember all the people who was killed by that Irraccional war, the war its the fault.
I hope war come to end, now, and The culprits, Bush, Cheney, Blair, Runsfeld, and all those killers be judged, they are liers and Assassins
 
I am with the americans,  i hope they Have a better future
 
Good-bye
 
H. Galvan

================

9/4/05

Marine's Girlfriend, Boston, MA

 
I came across this site while I was searching for deployment support.  Though I never had the privilege to meet your son, a hero, I can tell that he was an amazing, honorable person.  Your story has forever touched my heart and the hearts of so many others.  My heart goes out to you, your family, and of course Ken.  Sending all of my thoughts and prayers,

Alissa

================

9.10.05

Ms. Lee Smith, Delray Beach, FL

 

Dear Ken's Mom,
I just read the story about your son today and wanted to tell you how angry it made me.  I've been against this war from the beginning and I thank you for going to TX to stand with Cindy Sheehan.  I'm so sorry that this has happened to your family and wanted to send my condolences.  I commend you for your strength and for standing up for the truth.  God bless you and I hope you know how many are behind you on this.  I sent the story about Ken out to all my friends that are also against this war.  We pray this will end soon so no more lives will be shed in vain.
Sincerely,
Lee

===============

9.10.05

Hello,
 
It seems we have at least 2 things in common.  my maiden name is Ballard.  My brother Carl 'butch' Ballard was killed in Viet Nam and we were also not told the truth of how he died. til this day when i go to the viet nam memorial they will not tell me.  I do not know why our government lies to us but i know they do.  Nothing can bring Ken back to you, your memories of him will keep him alive. take care- only time can ease the pain.
 
with you in thought,
Cathie

===============

9.10.05

Your site is a wonderful memorial to your son's life and service.  I pray that you find peace. 
 
Suzanne

==================

9.10.05

John Rutherford

I did not know your son but I thank him for the sacrifices that he made to keep this country safe and to make sure that my children and future grandchildren will always know what the word "Freedom" means.
 
Thank you again ------

==================

9.10.05

Katie French, Las Cruces, NM

I just read the article concerning the misinformation you received
regarding the death of your son.  I am so sorry for your pain, now and
15 months ago.  My prayers are with you.  I would also like to thank
your son for his heroism and you for raising a son who proudly served
his country and its citizens.  I will be forever grateful to those, like
your son, who continue to keep my children and my family safe and free!  
Thank you.   K. French, Las Cruces, NM

=================

9.11.05

Dear Mrs. Meredith,
 
It is Sunday morning, September 11, 2005.  As I sit here awaiting the sounds of my children's feet across the floor welcoming a new day.  I read the article about your experience with the government and your tragic, tragic loss.  I then think what it must be like to suffer as you have.  My heart and prayers are with you and your family.  I have lost both my parents and know somewhat the emptiness.  I could not imagine the loss of a child.
 
First, let me say to you I apologize to you on behalf of all the Americans that feel our country has betrayed you and your family.  However, your Son's valiant gift of his ultimate sacrifice doesn't go without appreciation.  I and millions of other Americans appreciate your families sacrifice.  The means by which this beautiful life was ended doesn't detract from the gift his life has left behind.  I hope you've found peace and I will pray for your family.  May God bless you and your family with peace and may our soldiers come home soon!
 
 
In my family's prayers,
 
Dan 

=================

9.11.05

Dear Mr & Mrs Ballard,
 
I want to offer my sincere condolences for your loss.  His death was needless and tragic. I know that your family and his men will miss him terribly.
 
I wish I had known your son.  From what I have read he seems like he was an outstanding man and a fine officer who cared about his men and what he was doing. Had I been able to meet him I am sure that we would have been friends.
 
I  know that war is terrible and that we sometimes lose what is most important, our young people.  War is a senseless waste of life. As a veteran of 24 plus years in the Army I have seen more than my share and I wish that we would find a way to outlaw it. Maybe one day we will. Until then may God bless you and keep you and yours safe.
 
Again, I offer my condolences and  my assistance if there is anything you might need.
 
Sincerely,
 
Clyde R. Stanbery
MSG (R), US Army

===============

9.12.05

Ted Kaiser, North Carolina

I had the honor and privilege of being Ken's Platoon Leader in 1/A/2-37 AR,
Friedberg, back in 1997-1998. He was my loader, and one of the best soldiers
I've seen before or since. I wrote a recommendation for his Green to Gold
Packet and had stayed in touch with him for some time after that. This news
has just reached me and hit me harder than any of the other friends I've
lost. His energy towards doing what he loved for a country he believed in
inspires those of us who continue serving America in his notable absence;
he's one of the best men with whom I've ever served.

God Bless,

CPT Ted Kaiser

=================

9.14.05

Gary McDonald

  My name is Gary (Preston) McDonald I am a Engineer officer in the 1st Cavalry Division. I am very sorry to hear of your loss, I was in Iraq when I first heard that Ken was killed in Najaf. I know that no words of mine can begin to consul you for your loss, but I would like to let you know that I knew Ken and have only positive, fond memories of him. I was commissioned in May 02, shortly there after I was sent to FT Lewis, WA to work with ROTC cadets. This was Kens first assignment as an officer as well. We were assigned to the land nav committee in charge of evaluating the cadets land nav skills or, as it turned out there lack there of. From the beginning Ken established himself as a leader among peers, which is difficult to do. His prior service as an enlisted Soldier gave the self confidence and knowledge of the military that many of the newer LT's lacked, but he never presented himself as being better than the rest. He was cheerful in all weather and always worked hard no matter the task. We worked together, everyday from mid May to the first of August and like I said earlier all I have is positive and fond memories of Ken.
 
Gary P. McDonald
CPT, ENG
2-5 CAV, 1CD

===============

9.20.05

Trevor Floth

Hey Buddy,  I finally got to visit your cross in Santa Barbara this
weekend, ironically marking our 10th year high school reunion. I wanted
the visit to be sooner, but life is so damn busy sometimes. I wanted to
be by your side especially during this weekend, and to make the trip
down there to honor your memory and other brave soldiers that put
themselves in harms way. I tell ya bud, it was a wave of emotion when I
saw your cross. The site was an awesome presentation on the beach, and
I am so glad that the city of Santa Barbara lets the veterans
respectfully honor the fallen warriors of our armed forces.
Unfortunately, as breathtaking site was, it had to be derived by means
of lives of men and women that put themselves before the common
citizen.
I met many families at Arlington West that day that lost their sons,
daughters, and friends, and I felt at home with their compassion and
comfort. We had a long talk that day, you and I , which is not any
different than any other day.  The site is definitely a place that I
can return to in the future. With all of this, I still want to say that
you are always in my thoughts, and you and your memory will never leave
this heart of mine.

Trevor

ps. I getting your memory tattoed on me next week hopefully. I will
send your mom pics of the . artwork, and the rest of the tributes we
are doing here at the nursery. Its taking more time that I thought, but
I want it right......Love ya

===============

9.26.05

Toshi, Nashville, TN

I attended MTSU with Ken during his final Spring semester.  What a great guy he was!  There was never a dull moment-- he was always making jokes and giving someone a good laugh.  We all loved him.  Anyone who knew him knew how much he loved serving in the Army.  Iíll never forget the tank tattoo, his pride and joy.  I was so saddened to hear the news of Kenís falling in Iraq on the MT web site that summer.  Iíve thought about him so much since then.  Your web site is wonderful and truly touching.

Thank you for raising such a brave and honorable soldier.  Iíll forever be proud of him.  Ken and your family will always be in my heart and prayers.

God Bless,

=========

9.27.05

1Lt Bart Love

I did not know your son but I knew of his death.  I too was at Camp
Baker/Golf in An Najaf.  My team arrived there in March of 2004.  When we
first arrived it was a half way decent place to be, given it was in Iraq.
It was a small Camp but it had everything we needed.  You could easily walk
from one end to the other in a matter of minutes.  It had internet and a
decent chow hall.  We also had the company of the El Salvadorians and
Spanish.  We only got along with the El Sals though.  Shortly after settling
in we began to hear about a threat from Muqtada Al Sadr.  The situation
quickly escalated and we found ourselves surrounded and cut off.  For 22
days we received mortars, small arms fire, and RPG fire.  No one from our BN
would convoy in to us.  Food and resupply convoys ground to a halt.  We were
basically left to fend for ourselves.  When it first kicked off on April 4
the Mahdi tried to over run the front compound (Camp Golf).  The EL Sals
managed to fight the Mahdi back.  One of my EL Sal friends ( a Lieutenant)
lost his radio man that day.  Then for the following 22 days we hinged on
the promise of the cavalry coming for us.  The news spoke of troops
surrounding Najaf but they remained outside the city and we remained inside
it.  Those were some of the most trying days of the deployment.  I witnessed
fear, despair, and eventually bravery in those around me.  The enemy
mortared us at all varying hours of the night.  We would sit on the berm and
wait knowing that is was not a matter of if but when.  When we could we
would fire back on them as they fired mortars at us.  Many times we just had
to grin and bear it.  The combination of the attacks, the Spanish leaving
us, and the thought of no one coming for us wore a heavy burden on us all.
I can't even begin to explain what it felt like. Your son was one of the
brave souls that came to our compound into that city and helped turn the
tide.  Had they never come God knows what would have happened to the rest of
us.  For that I am ever grateful.

I remember hearing of your sons death and the circumstances surrounding it.
We all feel pain when we lose a comrade but it's even worse when it happens
as the result of an accident.   His death was tragic but he died a hero in
my eyes.  He had the guts to come into that place and risk his life for his
fellow Americans under siege.

God Bless

=========

December 15, 2005

Megan

I visited your sons site today.  He was not much older than me. I was born on 11/23/77.  I know this seems generic, but I am truly sorry.  I am a mother of 2. I have a 7year old son and a 1 year old daughter.  Being a mother, I think you are extremely courageous for accepting that your son even signed up for the armed forces. In my eyes, that took real courage from both you and him.  I appreciate what he has done for me and my family.  I will be visiting Arlington in November, I will be sure to pay my respects.

==========

January 17, 2006

Mario Degiorgio

What a big sacrifice to lose your only son !

========

March 18, 2006

Linda Rabe

I just watched Ken's story on PBS' NOW Program. I would like to send you my love and condolences.
I have no children, but would hope that had I had a son he would have been there to protect and defend our Freedom's.
If unfortunately Ken was killed by friendly fire this does not make him any less a HERO IN MY EYES. I admire the fact that he was there to protect ME AND THE SACRIFICE HIS FAMILY HAS MADE.
As the saying goes ALL GAVE SOME, AND SOME GAVE ALL.  KEN IS A HERO, GOD BLESS HIM, AND MAY GOD HELP HIS FAMILY GET THROUGH THIS.
THANK YOU.

=================

4.28.06

Adrienne Forzano

I visited Ken when I was up in DC a couple weeks ago, just before Easter. I
was gonna leave him some Peeps, but I wasn't sure they would allow that. So
I left him a note and a rose. I'm sure they won't mind that. It's the first
time I've been back to Arlington since the funeral. It took me a moment to
find him, there was more headstones there than there were before. And then I
turned around and he was right there behind me. Jason didn't quite
understand, he kept asking where we were going and I told him I was going to
visit my cousin. It was kind of hard to explain to him that the headstone
was what I was visiting, he kept wondering where Ken was. When he's older
I'll be able to explain it to him better. Since we'll be moved up to
Virginia in a couple weeks, I'm hoping we'll be able to visit again on the
30th. Mike has been wanting to come pay his respects for some time now. I
hope you are doing well. Take care. Love you.

Love,

Adrienne

===================

5.23.06

Karen Meredith, Mountain View, CA

Dude-

Iím off to Washington, DC to be at your grave side for the 2nd anniversary of your death.  We, your favorite aunts, Cathy, Michel, Kateri & Shannon and your favorite Uncle Tim, will celebrate your life again this year with other friends; itís what we do.   I donít feel much like celebrating anything; I just want my old life back. 

May 30, that awful, awful day when you left this earth from the sands of Iraq is just a few days off. Most days, the best I have is to just get through the day, some days itís like being in a tsunami, going down for the 3rd time- itís my new normal. I know you know all this, but itís just frustrating not being able to pick up the phone to hear your voice or not plan a trip to the airport.  Besides, Iím entitled to a pity party every now and then, donít you think?

I know you know what a year itís been, finding out the truth of how you died 15 months afterwards.  Hearing what were your last words. Your ďinferiorĒ officers have to live with their incompetence for the rest of their life and I hope they are ashamed every time they look in the mirror. You will always have been a better man than either of them, and they know who they are.  The Army has figured out, in some ways, how to improve the casualty process thanks to some men who really care and maybe some encouragement from my congresswoman, Ann Eshoo.  I told Jack OíBrien I was going to be his best friend and he has come through for me every time.  I know Brad May takes all of this personally. Francis Harvey really listened to me and so did Stan Green.  I am grateful that the Army respected me and your memory when they realized the major effup.  Itís too bad the whole military isnít made up of all men like them.

There are LOTS of people who do care and who are working hard to end this war.  Beyond that, they also care about my well being and they really do make speaking out much easier for me.  I am so grateful for their friendship too.  Alright, here's something that should make you smile.  My Assemblywoman named me the California District 22 Mother of the Year for the peace work I am doing. Maria Shriver even mentioned me specifically when she welcomed us to the capitolAnd thereís Woman of the Year Karen Meredith. She lost her son in the Iraq war. But instead of giving up, she had the strength and the courage to reach out to help other families Ė and use her voice to promote peace.  The year hasn't all been bad, so I guess I needed to remind you of that, but I know you were with me in Sacramento that day, even if only in my heart.

2-37 is back in Iraq, near Tal Afar this time and I know you are watching over them.  They had their first casualty within a couple of months. Iím glad you guys didnít have to deal with death so early on.  Iím not sure who all is still with 2-37; I do know some of the guys have moved on. You would be a Captain by now; life just doesnít stand still, does it?

I know you know I am doing what I can to end this war; itís just so damned painful to see so many broken families and so many broken young men and women.  This country owes them and us a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid, but this administration just doesnít seem to feel that is very important.  Neither do a lot of others, and maybe thatís the reason for my pitiful self these days. 

Maybe itís not, maybe itís just that Iím growing old without my favorite son and thereís nothing right about that.  You havenít visited lately and Iíd really like it if you do, even for a minute to let me know you are doing okay.  I know you donít like to see me sad, but I just donít see it any other way right now.

I love you, buddy-

Love your fave ma

=====================

May 25, 2006

Andrew Smith, Nashville, TN

Karen, I am so angry to hear about how Ken was actually killed. As I wrote
to you in June 2004 after hearing of his death, I was a classmate of Ken's
in Dr Korobokv's World Politics class and was also a member of Model UN with
Ken. While I was more of an acquaintance than a close friend, hearing of Ken's
death deeply affected me. I knew that the two year anniversary was coming up
and was I was just planning on leaving my condolences, but now its more than
that.

As I sit here two years later finding out the truth behind this tragic day,
it angers me to no end! This war needs to end. We have lost too many great
soldiers because of lies by the prominent people! When will we hear the
truth! I do not blame you one bit for being angry that it took 15 months for
you to find out the truth about what happened to Ken. This senseless war
needs to stop.

Ken was a great, funny and very outgoing guy. His death was not in vain,
Hopefully it will bring out more answers and save more soldiers. I sincerely
apologize if I have brought back painful memories, but I stand behind you
and Ken 100%!!! The truth needs to be told, the "higher ups" need to held
accountable and we need to pull out of this senseless war. Keep up the
pressure, Karen! This will all end soon. If there is anything I can do,
please email me.

Sincerely,

Andrew Smith


========================

May 29, 2006

Dear Karen,
It has been a long time since I wrote to you, but I thought today it would be important.  It has been two years now and, as a mother, I can only imagine that two years or twenty cannot change or lessen the pain of the loss of your child.  I wanted only to tell you that I still think of him so often and smile at remembering his quick humor and contagious laugh.  It seems every time I look through old pictures, I find one of him and can recall the stories he was telling and how he made me laugh.  I can't remember if I had mentioned this before but I wanted you to know that Ken talked about you often.  If he wasn't saying how great you are, you could still hear it in his voice or see it in his smile when he talked about going home to visit or speaking with you on the phone.  I remember it used to make me wish that someday my daughters would talk about me that way--with so much happiness and love.  He often called me 'Ma' -- yes, I was one of the 'older' cadets :) -- and I always took it as a compliment. 
 
Ken, you, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, not only on this Memorial day, but always.

Sincerely,
Donna Ridgel
MTSU ROTC class of '01

=======================

May 30, 2006

Mac, TN
 
 
Well, here we are again.......
 
Two years.  It might as well be 2 minutes ago.  So much has happened in the past couple of years.  I know you are keeping up where you are at, but all the same I wish you were here so I could share it with you.  There is still not a day that passes you do not cross my mind.  I miss your laughter...........I miss you. 
 
Love you buddy!

=====================

May 30, 2006

 

Another year has rolled around. Still think about you, my thanks to you and Pierre. I'll raise a toast to you both today as today is the true day for Memorial Day.
 
MAJ Mike Peccolo

=====================

June 2, 2006

Please tell me the Army was not insensitive enough to notify you by telephone that you lost your son?  I sincerely pray for your family as you struggle with your grief.  I am incredulous that you received a phone call.  What happened to procedure that states someone would come to your door?  I am sorry, that comment in your diary on the year anniversary has placed a huge burden on me.  God bless you and again I am so sorry for your loss.

V/R

Leigh Ann Erdman

=====================

June 20, 2006

Michelle Newberry

I did not have the pleasure of knowing your son but, I know the freedom I have.  I would like to thank your son and you.  I am sorry for your loss. I have three boys and just the thought of what you have went through brings tears to my eyes.   I know that my words are weak in the light of the loss you have suffered but, thank you Lt. Ken Ballard.  You will be remembered.  God Bless and Keep you all in Peace.

=====================

July 20, 2006

Blake Highsmith, Dallas, TX

Hey Bro,

I just wanted to wish you a Happy 29th Birthday and to tell you how much youíre missed.

Keep the party going and the Metallica blaring!  I hear the Big Man is a huge fan!

Love,

Blake

========================

July 21, 2006

Trevor

Happy Birthday Bud! We celebrated your day in our own way and wanted to say
we are thinking of you everyday, even when you left us early. I love you as
well as Monique loves you, and I am sure you are looking down at everyone.
Love ya and Happy Birthday!

========================

September 11, 2006

Hi i'm sydney fittro and i know ken ballard he is my dads friend

=====================

November 11, 2006

Lt. Ken Ballard Gone but never forgotten

I am sorry for your loss. I was a task force scout in 2-37ar. Lt Ballard and I met before we deployed. We had to run some equipment to another unit before we deployed. I thought the trip was going to be a real pain, but we got along great. Every time I saw him we would talk. Everybody in the scout platoon liked Ken. He was what we call a solders soldier. He was greatly respected.
 
Sgt. John Morrison 

=====================

Home About Ken Arlington Cemetery Arlington West Bereavement Comments 12/27/03 - 6/8/04 Comments 6/9/04- 3/27/05 Comments  5/22/05- 12/31/06 Comments 1/1/07 - Present Eyes Wide Open Favorite Links Karen Info Honoring Ken Ken in the News Life In Iraq Lt Ken Ballard Day Memorial Murfreesboro Rolling Thunder Scholarship Tatts for Ken

 

Please get in touch with any comments about Ken's site.
kensmomkm@gmail.com