Teen's prom dress pays tribute to fallen Marines: 'I don't want them to fade into nothing'

Erin Donnelly
Aubrey Headon honored fallen Marines with her ribbon-accented prom dress. (Photo: Courtesy of Aubrey Headon)
Aubrey Headon honored fallen Marines with her ribbon-accented prom dress. (Photo: Courtesy of Aubrey Headon)

An Illinois teen turned her prom night into an opportunity to honor fallen servicemen.

Aubrey Headon, a student at Rochelle Township High School in Rochelle, Ill., told Yahoo Lifestyle that she spent two years planning a prom dress that would serve as a tribute to the military. The royal blue halter-neck gown echoes the American flag with its design, which features an embellished bodice and waistband. Her skirt is adorned with red and white ribbons bearing the names of 25 members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, known also as 3/5 or Darkhorse.

Between September 2010 and April 2011, 25 of the battalion’s Marines were killed in action in the Sangin District in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Meeting the mother of Alec Catherwood, one of the fallen Marines, inspired Headon to do “something special” in his memory.

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

Last weekend’s prom gave her the opportunity to show some sartorial support.

“I wanted to wear this tribute dress [to] my senior prom so the memories of the guys who fell in Afghanistan for our right to live how we do and do what we do every day is carried on,” the teen said. “I don’t want them to fade into nothing.”

But not all of the ribbons are red and white. A black ribbon hanging from the middle of Headon’s skirt reads “Tyler Smith.” Smith, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard who graduated from Rochelle Township High School in 2014, died in September in what has been ruled a drowning.

Headon said she’s been flooded with messages of support since her mother posted footage of her dress on social media.

“The biggest response has been from Gold Star families, thanking me for remembering their loved ones,” she shared.

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