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Utah kids create touching display honoring 13 fallen US service members

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Posted at 8:17 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 13:57:43-04

HERRIMAN, Utah — A Utah neighborhood display honoring the 13 American service members killed in the suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport last week has morphed into an unexpected heartfelt display created by four children.

The children and their parents wanted to make sure people who saw the display in Herriman had a chance to reflect on the lives lost and honor each person individually.

One of those service members, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, was from Utah himself.

It's not unusual to see flags flying on Solemn Way off Butterfield Park Way in Herriman.

Jeremy Brown described how his neighbors love to show their patriotism by placing flags in their yards and hanging them from their homes.

"Thirteen houses — we're all really close neighbors," he said. "We set these flags out for every major holiday."

Thirteen flags, for 13 houses on the short dead-end street.

So, when 13 US service members died in the attack outside the airport in Kabul Thursday, Brown realized he had the exact number of flags to fly in their honor.

"We decided that that would be a really great tribute to honor them and remember them," he said.

Brown said he put the flags up Sunday. Soon after, neighbors noticed and stopped by to see them. Some honked in support as they drove by.

The Bailey family was one of the families who saw the flags. The four sons and one daughter ages 5 to 13 talked about the attack with their parents, Ryan and Lindsay Bailey.

The only girl of the siblings, 8-year-old Anistyn Bailey, had to learn the term "suicide bombing," and learn about all the people killed in the bombing, including Americans.

"I felt sad because I want everybody to have a good life and live good, and they didn't get to," Anistyn said.

The family decided they wanted to do something more, so they sat at their dining room table and looked up each person who died, including their pictures and stories. Anistyn said her parents wrote the names down, and the kids — 13-year-old Reagan, 10-year-old Daxon, Anistyn, and 5-year-old McCoy — created pictures of the names. They filled in the letters with bright, bold colors.

They also drew a picture that shows a service member next to an American flag, with "13" and the phrase "Never Forgotten."

The kids then hung each name picture next to each of the 13 flags outside Brown's home, with their special tribute picture in the middle of the display.

"So they would know that it's not just names, but that we could never forget how they sacrificed," Anistyn explained. "And we put the American flag, like how they gave us freedom."

At 8 years old, Anistyn is learning about sacrifice, about war, and about what it means to pay respects.

"I felt that it was really special that we all, like, really cared for them, and that we wanted to, like, make these posted so they would never be forgotten," Anistyn said.

Brown takes the flags down each night so they aren't in the dark. The display will stay up on Butterfield Park Way near Solemn Way through September 11.

This story was originally published by Lauren Steinbrecher at KSTU.