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Mountain View Mom Remembers Son Killed In Iraq

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JaniceWright20100910_KCBS_0748r Janice Wright
Janice Wright has been in Bay Area Broadcasting for over 30 years. ...
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MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) — For nearly a decade a Bay Area mother has marked Memorial Day in the same sad, but proud way by honoring her fallen soldier son. This year will be no different.

Karen Meredith makes the trek from her Mountain View home to the nation’s capitol to visit the grave of her son, Lieutenant Ken Ballard, at Arlington National Cemetery. He was killed in Iraq in May of 2004.

Despite Meredith’s military roots, she thinks war is not the answer to the world’s problems.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” she said somberly.

In addition to losing her only child, who enlisted after he graduated from high school in 1995, the Army initially didn’t give her the real story on how her son was killed. She was originally told it was insurgent fire.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

“15 months later they came to my house and told me that it was the accidental discharge of the weapon on his vehicle,” Meredith explained.

Her son was killed by machine gun fire from his own tank.

Meredith is a member of Gold Star Families Speak Out, a group that continues to apply pressure on Congress to deal with military issues.

While there has been some progress since her son was killed—families are once again allowed to be present when their loved ones come home to Dover Air Force Base— ultimately, Meredith, a daughter of generations of soldiers, wonders what the goal is after some ten years of war for the U.S.

“If you’re not fighting for peace, what are you fighting for,” she questioned.

She was offered some comfort by Vice President Joseph Biden last week in Washington when he addressed the group and shared his experience of losing both his wife and daughter in a car accident. He promised that someday a smile would come to their faces when they think about their loved ones before a tear comes to their eyes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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