Knauss family remembers last Purple Heart recipient in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — August 26, 2021 is a date Ryan Knauss’ parents will always remember. He and 12 other servicemen were killed in the Kabul bombing that day.

“I was blessed to be his father,” Greg Knauss said.

Greg Knauss said his son was a great student and person. He described his son’s smile as more of a smirk but very memorable.

“A lot of this journey has been so many emotions all together at once,” said Greg Knauss.

Weeks after he was killed in Kabul, his mother and father visited Fort Bragg in a very emotional ceremony in which Ryan received a Purple Heart.

“It’s a great honor, and he would be greatly honored if he was injured and still received the Purple Heart. He would be very honored,” said Ryan’s mother, Paula Knauss Selph.

Although the awards show the accomplishments of Ryan Knauss, Selph said she wishes her son was always with us.

“He sacrificed even his own life and that’s something you can be proud of if you know someone who received a Purple Heart and lived to see the light of day,” Selph said.

Staff Sgt. Knauss is among one million other U.S. military personnel to receive a Purple Heart; the oldest military medal in United States history. His parents said honor and pride are two things they will always talk about when talking about Ryan.

“It’s something you don’t want to get. But, when you get it, you make sure you honor the person for the sacrifice,” Selph said.

Greg Knauss said, “I won’t say an accomplishment because it’s sad why you get it. It’s not a good thing, but it’s an honor. It is a huge honor.

Staff Sgt. Knauss also received a Gold Star and a Congressional Medal of Honor. His family said there will be a ceremony on August 26 to honor those killed in Kabul.

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