6/9/04, Flagstaff, AZ
2Lt Jeremy Christopher
I salute you, sir, for your
dedication and sacrifice for our country. To the family of this fallen
soldier, know that he died for a cause that is noble and just, and that his
comrades will forever remember and be there for you.
Hooah one last time for you,
1LT Ballard, and those that you love.
2LT Jeremy Christopher
6/9/04, Newark, CA
To the Ballard family. I send my prayers and
sympathy for your loss. I knew Ken’s father in high school in
Newark back in the 70’s. Ken makes
me proud to be an American in these difficult times. Yes, he is a hero. No
doubt. Mike Warren
6/9/04, Rio Rancho, NM
My thoughts and prayers are
with you at this time, especially this morning, the day of Ken's funeral.
How difficult it must be as a mother to have your child go before you. I
knew Ken when he was a teen. I knew him through Audrey and Betsy when I was
teaching in Newark, CA. He was such a neat teenager, a real
gentleman. What a wonderful man he became. You have so much to be proud
of! Thank God for our wonderful servicemen and women that defend our
country, and enable us to enjoy the freedoms that we do. Thank you Ken, for
your dedication and service to your country.
Sending healing prayers and
energy your way.
How sorry I was to hear
about Ken and my heart goes out to you. I remember
Ken when he was 8 years
old and I was his teacher at Landels. He had so much
kindness, energy, and such beautiful smile that lit up his
eyes. We learned to read
and write and I am so pleased he used his skills. I
always told you he would
be a reader because you were. I am grateful to you
for sharing such a
wonderful young man with me. Ken's Room 12 teacher, Jolene Braymen
6/10/04, San Francisco, CA
Dear Ken's loving family,
I was part of the class of
MVHS 1995. I am an Army specialist serving in Iraq. I am getting ready to come
home. I did not know Ken but I felt a profound sadness when I found out he was
killed. I am sorry during high school, I did not know him better. God bless
you and Ken.
6/10/04, San Francisco, CA
I attended your son's memorial
yesterday. I have tried to think of something poignant to say......I
I needed to put a face on this
tragedy.........something I think EVERY American should see for themselves.
When they called out the names
of Ken's friends.....and they answered......and then they called out Ken's
name......THREE TIMES.......I could no longer hold back my tears.
My body was pierced with each
firing of the twenty-one gun salute. I could not help but think "Is this
really what Ken wants to hear......again".
I needed to see them hand you
medals in place of your son.
I needed to hear how and why
I needed to see, for myself,
that this man was truly loved and will be greatly missed.
I love my Country......the
United States of America......but when will it be said "Enough......Not one
more?".......when we know someone who has died?
I am a single mother. My one
and only son is everything to me. I can only imagine what it would be like
to not see his precious face.....each and every day.
I even went so far as to FORCE
him to see a Psychiatrist, who prescribed him Lithium, which he didn't take,
but served as back-up, in my mind, that the Military could not take him.
I just can't pay "The Ultimate
I love you and I truly care
about your son and the loss of his life.
Thank you for allowing me to
come and see this tragic passing of your son.
6/10/04, San Francisco, CA
My heart grows heavy over the
loss of your son. I did not know Ken personally, but knew of him through his
father who spoke very highly of him. My condolences and prayers go out to
6/10/04, San Francisco, CA
Having Grown up in Los Altos,
attended and alum of MVHS class'84, I have been following
the tragic events of the loss
of your son. My heart goes out to you at this incredibly
sad and difficult time. In
viewing your website and all the handsome photos of Ken, I was amazed at his
SMILE in every photo, despite the hostile circumstances. A total stranger,
yet his personality and smile radiated in every photograph. May his memory
and smile and heart forever be engraved in your deepest of hearts. What a
beautiful man. I am sorry.
6/10/04, Mountain View, CA
El Camino Roadrunners
WE DID NOT KNOW KEN
PERSONALLY, BUT WE DO KNOW AND WORK WITH HIS AUNT CATHY. ON BEHALF OF THE EL
CAMINO HOSPITAL ROADRUNNERS, WE WANT TO TELL HIS FAMILY HOW VERY SORRY WE ARE
FOR THEIR LOSS AND TO ALSO LET THEM KNOW HOW PROUD AND THANKFUL WE ARE TO HAVE
WONDERFUL MEN LIKE KEN SERVING AND PROTECTING ALL OF US!
6/10/04, Ft Rucker, AL
Col Mark Farrell
From one old Cavalryman and
fellow MTSU Blue Raider..., You got there before us, so save us a spot at
"Fiddlers Green!" I'll buy when I get there.
I am so saddened by the
loss of Ken Ballard,. Although I have never met
him, I, like his parents,
had a child born in 1977. Jennifer was a girl,
thank God! Not that it
matters. we have very many great women in the
service, including my niece,
and I am proud of them. And then I gave
birth to 3 sons; Matthew,
Nick, and Adam Bagwill. They are 26,24,and 22
consecutively. How they
managed to stay out of Iraq amazes me. Matt
joined the Army National
Guard in 2000, and is now out of the military
and working as an accountant
for Folsom Prison. He often looks back and
counts his blessings that he
has a civilian life now in the midst of all
this turmoil. All 3 of my
boys have many friends over in Iraq, and every
day I think about and pray
for them. Ken is no exception.. I am hurt and
my heart is crying just as
it would for someone who was close to me.
When a mother hears of a
"man" dying, when he is the same age as one of
her babies, it always hits
home. I am a Christian woman, and will
ask my congregation to say a
prayer for a fallen comrade this Sunday. My
prayers and thoughts go out
to the Meredith and Ballard families.
God Bless the USA!!!!!
In Heartfelt Sorrow,
La Dawn Ahlborn-Smith
6/11/04, San Jose, CA
June 21, 2003. Wedding Day.
I heard about you for the first
time when my son married your cousin and during the wedding reception we got a
congratulation call from you from Baghdad.
Friends and families were
gathered for the joyous occasion. It was a time for our family to welcome a
new daughter, to meet, to greet, and to welcome an entire new family; new
grand parents, new aunts and uncles, new brothers and sisters, new sons and
daughters, and new nieces and nephews. We have never met, but among this new
family we have just welcomed, I felt an immediate connection when told you
were of the newlyweds’ age, a “brother” to my new daughter, and why you were
not at the reception.
There was carefree fun, there
was celebration, there were tears of happiness, and peace of mind.
But your call reminded me that
we live in a dangerous world, that there are people who do not like our way of
life, and want to do us harm. We have walls to keep them out and you were not
at the reception because you were standing guard on those walls for our
I said a silent prayer for your
safe return. Thank you Ken.
November, 2003. Thanksgiving
Day. Hello Ken,
I heard about you for the second
time at the family Thanksgiving dinner at your aunt’s house with the grand
parents, your mother, aunts, and cousins.
There was carefree fun, there
was celebration, there was happiness, and peace of mind. When the family
talked about you and got online to chat with you on instant messenger it
reminded me again of the sacrifice you were making for us and were away from
home because you were still standing guard on those walls for our security. I
overheard you could be back for a surprise visit during the holidays and for
sure in May for good and I looked forward to meeting you and thanking you in
I said a silent prayer for your
safe return. Thank you Ken.
June 1st, 2004.
I heard about you for the third
time today when I received the phone call from my son that made this Memorial
Day and all future ones closer to home and more significant than ever before.
You stood your ground, defended those walls, and gave your life for us.
Although we have never met, by
now somehow, I feel like I have known you all along. By birth a cousin to my
daughter in-law but by choice a brother to her, and by extension a brother to
my son and a new son to myself.
We attended a Memorial Day block
party on our street and met most of our neighbors for the first time today.
There was fun, there was
celebration, there was happiness, but this time, on the inside, there was a
searing feeling of sorrow, of sadness, of loss, and a deep sense of gratitude.
The new son I was waiting to meet made the ultimate sacrifice, is coming home,
and we will meet in spirit.
I said a silent prayer for your
return. Thank you Ken.
June 3rd, 2004. My
son sent us the website your mother set up for you. We are meeting through
your pictures. Hello Ken,
June 8, 2004. Goodbye Day.
You are home. Home with family,
friends, and strangers who have come together today to cry, to remember you,
pray for you, celebrate your life, and show their gratitude. From the tributes
by people who knew you, I now know you are a life-loving person, a fun-loving
person, a happy prankster with so many “best friends,” a caring and giving
person who did a well-done job, lived a first-class life, and gave the
Great meeting you, knowing you,
so proud welcoming you. An honor!
Thank you and goodbye Ken.
I am a friend of Michel's
and I attended the beautiful service for Ken yesterday. What a man! What
a son! What a hero! So many wonderful and touching things were said
about your son. I am sorry I never got to meet him. He sounds like he was
a very fun and uplifting person to be around. You must be so proud of him!
Thank you for sharing him with all of us. You will be in my thoughts and
6/12/04, Corte Madera, CA
6/14/04, St Louis, MO
Jill H Garbs
I JUST WANTED TO SAY TO KEN'S
MOTHER AND FAMILY ,I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY ,BUT I HAVE ONLY HEARD OF
GOOD THINGS ABOUT KEN AND THE OTHER SOLIDERS IN HIS UNIT ,FOR MY BROTHER ,MY
TWIN BROTHER IS SERVING IN THE FIRST ARMORED DIV TOO ,AND HAS SENT PHOTOS HOME
AND KEN WAS IN SOME PHOTOS TOO, AND LOOKED LIKE HE REALLY ENJOYED LIFE ,AND
MAKEING ALL THE SOLIDERS LAUGH ALOT,FOR WE PRAY ALL THE TIME FOR MY BROTHER
TOO COME HOME SAFE ,AND SOON IT HAS BEEN REAL HARD FOR MY FAMILY ,MY BROTHER
SERVED WITH KEN ,HE IS SS SERGEANT JASON DEMO,I KNOW HE WOULD WANT EVERYONE TO
KNOW KEN WILL REALLY BE MISSED ,AND WAS ONE HELL OF A SOLIDER!!! FOR I HAVE 5
SISTERS AND 1 TWIN BROTHER,I DONT KNOW WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE IN YOUR
SHOES ,I KNOW YOU HAD TO BE A WONERFUL MOTHER TO HAVE SUCH A GREAT SOLIDER FOR
A SON!!FOR I HAVE 2 CHILDERN 1 BOY AND 1 GIRL WHO MY BROTHER HASN'T SEEN HER
YET ,SHE IS NAMED AFTER JASON !!I WILL ALWAYS PRAY FOR YOU !!! AND GOD BLESS
YOU ALWAYS!!! JILL H GARBS
6/14/04, El Dorado Hills
Jamie (Bell) Morgan
I went to high school with Ken
and, while I did not know him well, this website has given me a glimpse into
the life of a great man. This website is a wonderful tribute. I admire him
for following his dreams, I thank him for his bravery in serving our country
and I will pray for him and your family.
6/14/04, Santa Clara, CA
I am an old friend of Cathy's
since her early days at El Camino. I have been following this story and
feeling for you for over 2 weeks now. My deepest sympathies go out to you. He
sounds like a wonderful young man.
As many others have said, I did not know Ken personally, but I felt as
though I did. I am Denise's cousin and she and Ken were such good friends.
I'm so glad she was able to be with you Meredith and pitch in during this
most difficult time of your life.
My brother is a Mst. Sgt in the Air Force and has served for over 20 years
and seen more than his share of major conflict. We're one of the lucky
families, as he's back home with us now and I thank God for that every day.
Ken was a brave and wonderful man and soldier and it's the world's loss that
he is gone. I think Ken would say what I've heard my brother say many times,
"this is what I do, I love it and I'm very good at it."
Ken is in a better place, but I know that doesn't help you much right now.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine what you are going through.
It's so hard to know exactly what to say.
You and your family will always be in my prayers as well as all of the other
men and women in this conflict and their families. I hope it will all be
Thank you for being so brave through all of this and sharing your son Ken
with us. It's my loss for never having the pleasure of meeting him.
God bless you and your family.
My dear Mrs. Ballard:
My son, a Gunnery Sgt. in
the USMC just e-mailed me about Ken. He told me they were good friends.
When I read about Ken in the paper I had no idea that Michael had known
I think I can imagine how
you must feel, having a son in the Marines and another in the Navy,
currently on his fourth tour of the Gulf. It is every mother's nightmare
when the children are in the Service. Michael was in Afghanistan, and I
was so happy when he returned safe and sound.
Please know beyond any doubt
that your grief is a pain in my heart. There isn't anything that I could
possibly say that would "make it better", I know that. I guess you could
take some comfort in the fact that he died doing what he went into the
Service for, and he was where he wanted to be.
I don't support the policy
in Iraq but I certainly back all the troops 300%. You are in my thoughts
and prayers, and like so many other Moms from Normandy until now, perhaps
you can just take it one day at a time until the worst hurt is ebbing.
6/15/04, Shelbyville, TN
Of all the underclassmen that we
had at MTSU Ken was my favorite. All we did was talk about being Armor
Officers. Currently I'm with 4th ID down here at Fort Hood. My heart soared
when I saw an email with his name on it. I thought perhaps he was coming to Ft
Hood. Then I opened it and read the news of his death. I was hurt and still
am. I've seen this damn war take friends of mine but Ken's death is one I'm
really having a hard time with. I still remember running with him during PT in
the morning in college like it was yesterday.
6/15/04, Arroyo Grande, CA
The Floth Family
We are so very sorry for the
loss of Ken in your life. Our son Trevor has great memories of Ken and was
devastated when he heard the news of his death. Trevor was so proud when you
asked him to speak at Ken's service because Ken was truly a courageous hero
and great friend in his eyes. We had the pleasure of having Ken in our home
many times over the years and there were always lots of laughs when the two
were together. There will always be wonderful, happy memories of Ken and he
will be missed by our family.
Fondly, Larry & Lynn Floth
6/16/04, Marietta, GA
Wow! When I first heard of
Ken's passing I really didn't fully take it in. I thought it had to be
another LT Ballard. My buddy from AOB, lLT Bruggink, went to the funeral
and brought back a bulletin and left it in my box at the troop. I saw his
picture and read the bio and thought "God no" - any one but Ken. Reality hit
home and my heart sank. Ken was a part of my platoon at AOB (in fact he was
one of the four new LTs in my squad - there was LT Schuh, LT Talbot, LT
Ballard, and myself). I recall one night during our final FTX - I made a
bad call - I felt as though I had let my platoon and all my buddies down.
And there he was re-assuring me (I was a former chaplain assistant and
supposed to encourage them - how comforting it was to have him there to
encourage me!) Ken was so untouchable - I admire his knowledge and how he
was so able to get that knowledge down to my level. I am still in shock -
how is it that I live and he has passed on???? I mean this was not even the
last thing I would have ever figured of happening - and if I did give it
thought I figured I would be the one out of the four of us.
Ken - if there is one thing
to say to you - if you are listening - Dude, you took me under your wing,
helped me through AOB, and now while you are residing at Fiddler's Green, may
I continue to draw on the memory of your strength and encouragement - and
until we meet again - Bless you my brother.
6/17/04, Louisville, KY
I work with Ken's cousin in
Louisville. After viewing his website...I appreciate even so much more what
he did for our country and for the freedom of 25 million Iraqi's. To this
day we already know Iraqi's income has gone way up...about twentyfold. They
have virtually all schools open...hospitals up and running...pizza shops
open!...and goods available they've never had before. None of this would be
possible without the devotion and sacrifices of people like Ken. We love him
for his courage and devotion...his willingness to give. And yes...as
Americans...knowing Saddam is gone means that country won't have a nuclear
bomb...whether six months or six years from now. That could've been a bomb
aimed at Israel...creating a world war...or a suitcase bomb aimed at us in
one of our cities. Those possibilities now gone because of the bravery of
our military...men like Ken. God rest his soul...he did more in his lifetime
than most will ever accomplish. We will never forget. Thanks, Scott
6/17/04, Oxford, MS
I heard about your son through a friend of mine, Jae Fulks, from MTSU. I
have a close friend who just returned from Iraq and is set to go back in
December. Please know that none of the freedoms that we experience daily
are taken for granted, they are all appreciated, especially more so, on
behalf of your Son and your sacrifice and that of thousands of other
American soldiers who have given their lives for our nation. You and your
Son and family are foremost in my prayers. I am so very sorry. Ken will
not be forgotten. We all owe a debt of freedom to him and to you as well.
It has now been nearly three
weeks since I have returned from California. There were so many things
that I wanted to say to you but I never could find just the right time.
First I would like to thank you for the privilege of returning Kens
truck to you. I must admit that at first it was not a pleasant
undertaking. I initially felt like a huge weight had been placed upon
Patrick and my shoulders. The knowledge that instead of Ken returning
home at the wheel of his baby as he should have, we were returning Kens
beloved truck to you, weighed very heavily on Patrick and I. At times
the gravity of the situation seemed overwhelming. The mood for the first
half of the trip was very somber. We were both in a state of shock and
bewildered denial, Patrick even once made the comment that it felt like
we were just borrowing Kens truck. But then a funny thing happened,
somewhere in the vast expanses of the Utah-Nevada deserts we began to
talk about some of the adventures that we had with Ken. We told tale
after tale of Kens gregarious personality and his unabashed sense of
humor. The more stories we told the better I felt. Somewhere just
outside of Sacramento it hit me that Ken will never truly be gone from
my life. He will live on in my heart. Deep down, as close as he could
possibly be, to my funny bone.
I would also like to thank you for
your strength. All of us who came out to Mountain View had moments where
we thought we were going to break down into inconsolable wrecks. We only
had to look at your kind smile and even though we knew that it hid more
than a few tears, we all instantly feel better. You were a bastion of
strength and whether you know it or not, you supported us far more than
we could have ever supported you. Thank you. I wish I could say that I
don't often think about the fact that Ken is no longer here on earth.
But that we be a lie. There is not a day that goes bye that I don't
think of that beautiful cloudless sunny day where I said goodbye to one
of the finest human beings this world has ever
I miss my friend.
I am so sorry for your loss my name
is Lisa Zimmer and my son Nicholaus was killed in Kufa on May 30,2004 I know
that your sadness is as great as mine. My prayers are with you and your
Indian Wells, CA
Karen-I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Please know that our
thoughts and prayers are with you and Ken's family.
We are so sorry to hear of Ken's passing. My cousin, Seth, was a
Ken's. Our deepest of sympathy goes out to your family. May God
comfort you all.
Dear Karen, You and your son are very special people.
Thank you for sharing him with us all. We are so lucky to have such
wonderful people defending us I am devastated such a fine young man
won't be here. If the world were filled with people like him maybe
we would not have to have wars. I am so sorry for your loss.
CPT Bettina K. Avent
Ken has been one of my best friends, we met in 1996 when he was
assigned to work in my post office. He hated it because he wanted
to be back on his tank. We kept in touch and I was so proud he went
Green to Gold. I visited him while in college and took him home to
meet my family. We visited many times including when we were both
at Fort Lewis. I always expected ours to be a life long friend ship
and I am heartbroken today to find out about Kens death. I was
happy he was stationed at Friedberg again and planned to go visit
but he deployed so soon after getting assigned there. It is hard to
not have been there to celebrate his life, but it helps to find the
website and the news coverage. I am hurt and angry, because this
wasn't supposed to happen to Ken. We talked on email and he told me
that his tank had been hit by 8 RPG's. It frightened me for his
safety, but I was so certain he would be ok. I mean he had to be!!
This is Ken! No one else like him. I always
told him I love him and I always will. I wish he is still here, I
cant believe he isn't. He was supposed to get married and have
babies and tell me all about it as his life continued!! I would
call him and sing that line from the Barbie song "Hi Ken, come on
Barbie lets go party" He had the cd and a lot of other great ones
until he forgot them on a plane once. I hated that, cause he took a
lot of time developing that collection. My thoughts are with you
and I am sharing in your pain because Ken was and always will be one
of the best friends I have. For most of us, it is a short list, but
for Ken the list I know is long. I will always keep you in my
I have followed Kenneth's life through Cathy -- so many proud
moments she shared with us -- I pray that those moments will offer
some warmth on the lonely days ahead. It was an honor to be present at
Kenneth's service, and to bear witness to the grace of the Meredith
family -- so much courage and strength -- it is no wonder Kenneth
became the man he did. My 4 year old, Holly, says, "when the flags
are in the middle, it means someone is sad". So many flags "in the
middle" now, and each one reminds me of your Kenneth, a hero to us all
-- our US soldiers deserve nothing less than our undying,
unfaltering support & respect, as do their mothers and families. I
believe in my soul, you will reunite with Kenneth in another place. In
the mean time, your friends and family, myself included, are here for
all of you -- anytime you need us. Love, Chris Tarver
May I offer my condolences to Mrs. Meredith and to all those who
loved this American hero. May God, in His mercy, grant to each of
you an extra measure of comfort, peace, and strength during this
difficult time. May the memory of Ken be forever remembered by
those who cherish the ideas of liberty and freedom!
Sincerely, with deepest sympathy,
Thank you for your sacrifice that keeps us free.
Thank you for bringing this war home and impressing upon all those
around you how precious our freedom is with your words and
pictures from Ken. I have no military family. You are my
connection to this tragedy so far from home, yet so close.
My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family.
6/21/04, Mountain View, CA
As someone who knew Ken from high
school, I remember his sense of humor, positive attitude, and his great
compassion. His dedication to our country and our freedom is unmatched. I
know that myself, and all of my Mountain View buddies (Tim, Anton, and Trevor)
will all miss you very much. My thoughts and prayers go to Ken's family.
To the family of Ken Ballard,
I just wanted to send you my sincerest sympathy. I met Ken while
in College at MTSU and had a few international relation classes
with him. He was always such an outgoing and happy person. I also
worked at the recreational center there and often saw and talked
to him in the early mornings after he and the rest of the
Military group completed their training. I don't think I ever saw
him without a smile on his face and a joke to tell. He was such a
great person and I am so sad to hear this news. Please know that
my thoughts and prays are with you and please know that even
though I had not been in contact with him for about two years, I
had often thought about him as I was aware of his stationing in
Hippie Chick (Ken's nickname for me)