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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teen Spends Two Years Designing Prom Dress Honoring 25 Fallen Marine Heroes

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Showing support for our troops and the families they leave behind doesn’t take much, especially when they make sacrifices so we don’t have to.

It’s one thing to see an adult giving back or honoring the fallen. When a teen or child steps up and shows support — that’s a flag of a different color.



One teen from Illinois went above and beyond to show her colors at her high school prom. Aubrey Headon of Rochelle wore a one-of-a-kind gown you won’t see anywhere else.

The idea to wear a dress that paid tribute to fallen members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines — 3/5 or “Darkhorse,” as they’re called — first struck Aubrey when she met a surviving family member.

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“It all started when I met one of the Gold Star moms, Gretchen Catherwood,” the teen shared with Yahoo Lifestyle. “She started the Darkhorse Lodge to help combat veterans. I do a fundraiser every year to donate to the lodge.”

And so plans were put into place.

“Well, we didn’t make the dress itself,” Aubrey told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “We searched for a couple of years to find the perfect one. My mom bought it and it fit perfect.”

Aubrey’s red, white and blue halter gown is adorned with 25 red and white ribbons, each ribbon bearing the name of a fallen Darkhorse marine.

“It took about 3 weeks to craft the ribbons and attach to the dress.”



“It makes me feel proud,” Aubrey told Inside Edition. “Their memories need to carry on so they don’t fade into nothing.”

One extra ribbon on her dress sits right in the middle and stands out among the rest. The black ribbon rests front and center.

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Aubrey wears it in memory of her friend, Tyler Smith. Smith drowned in 2018. He was a member of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Smith graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 2014, the same high school Aubrey attends now, making his passing hit even closer to home.



Since she started wearing the dress, Aubrey has received an outpouring of support.

“I just had prom this past weekend. No one really knew that I had made the dress or what it meant until the story was on the internet,” she told Liftable. “Now, many students and even more faculty have praised my creation and tribute.”

“The biggest response has been from Gold Star families, thanking me for remembering their loved ones,” Aubrey told Yahoo Lifestyle.



“I hope my dress inspires people to honor our fallen soldiers and hopefully remember their sacrifices,” she told Liftable. “I would tell more teens to show their support for our troops by taking a few minutes out of their days to show appreciation and kindness to our veterans. Also, to pay tribute to the Gold Star families, those who lost someone in the war, by remembering their loved one.”

“Just even to say their name. I do things like place flags or wreaths on grave sites during Veteran’s Day and the Holidays. I help to clean off the military headstones. I feel any little gesture shows love and respect to the veterans and their families.”

Way to go, Aubrey! You have a big heart and no doubt your beautiful dress will inspire others to do similar things in honor of the soldiers who have fallen.

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Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.
Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.

Sarah's experience as a successful working stay-at-home mom and business owner has given her the chance to write and research often. She stays up to date on the latest in entertainment and offers her views on celebrity stories based on her wide knowledge of the industry. Her success as a former preschool teacher and licensed daycare provider lend to her know-how on topics relating to parenting and childhood education.

Her thoughts on faith and family issues stem from home life and ministry work. Sarah takes time to attend workshops and classes annually that help her to improve and hone her writing craft. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature program and her writing has been acclaimed by ACFW and ECPA.
Education
Institute of Children's Literature, Art Institute of Phoenix (Advertising), University of California Irvine (Theater), Snow College (Early Childhood Education)
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith




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