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

Karen Meredith  

Ken's very proud mom, Karen Meredith was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1953.  She spent her childhood living in Europe and the U.S. with her Army father, mother and seven siblings. 

Karen has been a resident of Mountain View, California, since 1981.  A single mother, Karen raised her only child, Ken Ballard, on her own.  She was proud to see Ken serve our country by joining the Army upon graduation from Mountain View High School in 1995. 

Ken was stationed in Bosnia, Macedonia and Germany as an enlisted soldier.  He then attended college on an Army scholarship and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army in 2002.  After additional training, he returned to Germany for his first assignment as an officer.  Ken was sent to Iraq the day after Motherís Day 2003 Ė that was Karenís Motherís Day present that year.  Ken said he would make it up when he returned home the next year.  They never had that date Ė Ken was killed in Najaf, Iraq, on May 30, 2004.  Thus Karen became a Gold Star Mother, a mom whose child was killed during war. (The story of what "Gold Star" mother means can be found at www.serviceflags.com)

Karen has taken a temporary sabbatical from her career as a Purchasing Manager so that she can spend her time speaking out and working to end the war.  She currently works for a wireless security company in Silicon Valley. 

When Ken was killed, the Army told Ken's families that he was killed by small arms fire. In September 2005, 15 months after Ken was killed, the Army notified Ken's family that the circumstances of his death were different than the initial report.  Ken was killed by the accidental discharge of the unmanned M-240 machine gun on his tank.  As a result, she has worked tirelessly with the Army to improve the casualty process that Army families must go through after their loved ones death. She continues to speak out to bring attention to the continuing devastation of the war in Iraq.

As an activist in the peace community, Karen has worked with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) on their boots project, Eyes Wide Open, the Human Cost of War. Karen has  worked with the Digital Clubhouse Network in San Jose as the Project Manager on a digital storytelling project to help Gold Star Families tell the stories of their loved ones who have died or been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Karen works closely with Nadia McCaffrey, Gold Star Mother of Sgt Patrick McCaffrey as a member of the advisory board of Veteran's Village.  She has been a featured speaker at many peace events around the country, and in the course of her work, has met with the Secretary of the Army, the Inspector General of the Army, and numerous legislators and officials nationwide. 

Karen Meredith is a member of Gold Star Families Speak Out, a chapter of Military Families Speak Out. She is on the Board of Military Families Speak Out as the Gold Star Family representative.  She was named the 22nd Assembly District of California "Woman of the Year" for 2006 by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber.  Karen has appeared in various national media including PBS Now, Link TV, Air America, NBC Evening News, Current TV, NPR , CNN Headline News, Newsweek On Air and CBS The Early Show.  Karen & Ken's story is shown in CSNY DejaVu, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young's 2008 documentary about the group's Freedom of Speech Tour in 2006. All local media in the SF Bay Area have been very supportive of Karen as she tells Ken's story and tries to keep the Iraq war on the front page.

To see where Karen is speaking, please check the Gold Star Families Speak Out website.

Read Karen's blog at Gold Star Mom Speaks Out


Some of the friends Karen has met along the way

Marq Anderson, AFSC

Jeff Key

Joan Baez, Jeff Key

Congresswoman, Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Congressman Jack Murtha, (D-PA), Congressional Candidate Bill Winter, CD-6 CO

Senator Max Cleland

Tony DeCalvo, Be The Change, Denver

David Swanson

Bill Clinton

Susan Sarandon (March for Peace, DC January 2007

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) March 2008

Ellen Spiro, Phil Donahue (Body of War film screening, SF)

John Amos (Rolling Thunder, DC May 2008)

Neil Young, Josh Hisle

Josh Hisle

Peggy & Neil Young, Josh Hisle

Josh Hisle, Larry Johnson

Mike Cerre

Speaking Out

This journey of bereavement has been as emotional as it has been physical. I find myself in the most interesting places.  Seattle, Denver, Washington DC, Baltimore, all over California and yes, I did travel to Crawford, TX, back in the summer of 2005.  To read my journal from Crawford, click here.

 

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

kensmomkm@gmail.com