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Fallen soldier’s mother reacts to Afghanistan attacks

Pictures are the memories Lona Downs has of her son Army 1st Lt. Tyler E. Parten.
Pictures are the memories Lona Downs has of her son Army 1st Lt. Tyler E. Parten.(Lona Downs)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As news of the attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, came Thursday, the heart of American soldier’s families who died in the war broke.

The same holds for the family of an Arkansas soldier who died in Afghanistan as they’re on a mission to keep their loved one’s passion for children alive more than a decade after his death.

Pictures are the memories Lona Downs has of her son, Army First Lieutenant Tyler E. Parten.

“Anytime a mother speaks of their child, they are going to get emotional,” Downs said.

On September 10, 2009, Parten was killed when insurgents attacked his group with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.

The chaos at the Kabul Airport comes days before the 11th anniversary of her son’s death.

“War is war. It is ugly and it is distasteful.”

The images of Thursday’s suicide attacks bring heartbreak for Downs, who believes the lives of those who died in Afghanistan served a purpose that goes beyond war.

“I don’t in my heart of heart, I don’t feel like what he did was a waste because what he did goes beyond the Taliban, it goes beyond the political forces.”

For the mother of a fallen hero, her son was more than a soldier.

The 24-year-old dedicated his time outside of combat to helping the children of Afghanistan.

“I think of the children that he touched and they would be in their 20′s and I wonder what their thoughts would be. I wish I had names, I would love to see how their lives turned out,” Downs said.

A 2007 West Point graduate, Lt. Parten was fluent in Arabic, played the guitar and piano loved music and life.

Parten devoted his life to Christ, giving all for his country while serving abroad.

“His life, his service, and his death are not defined by Afghanistan and what is going on right now.”

A mission to protect and serve while changing control of a country that is now returning to terrorist control 20 years after America set out to make a change.

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