Aubrey Headon’s prom dress is more than just a fashion statement.
As Fox News reports, the high school student from Rochelle, Illinois, recently debuted her unique prom dress. Aubrey spent the last two years planning the royal blue halter-neck gown, which is embellished with stars and streamers that evoke the American flag.
But there’s more to those streamers than just decoration. Each one of the 25 red and white ribbons bears the name of a member of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (known as “Darkhorse” or 3/5) who was killed in action between September 2010 and April 2011. That was when the Darkhorse Battalion was conducting operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
Another ribbon, this one in black, is for Tyler Smith, a graduate of Aubrey’s school who died last year and served in the National Guard.
Aubrey told Yahoo Lifestyle that she had the idea for the dress after meeting the mother of Alec Catherwood, one of the Marines who died:
“It all started when I met one of the Gold Star moms, Gretchen Catherwood. She started the Darkhorse Lodge to help combat veterans. I do a fundraiser every year to donate to the lodge.”
In an emotional interview with WIFR, Aubrey explained that the dress is her way of keeping the memory of those fallen Marines alive:
“It makes me feel proud because these guys fell over in Afghanistan for us to live how we do and do what we do every day. Their lives … and their memories need to carry on so that they don’t fade into nothing.”
Aubrey’s mom, Cass Headon, shared images of the prom dress on Facebook. In response, Aubrey has received hundreds of compliments on the dress, her patriotism, and her character.
She’s also received thanks from those who have a connection to the fallen Marines of the Darkhorse Battalion. As one commenter wrote:
“As someone who knew and loved someone honored on your dress thank you so much for this.”