Soldier Son Honored After 35 Years

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After 35 years, the mother of a Payson soldier killed in action has finally received a Gold Star Flag to recognize her sacrifice and honor her son's memory.

Edith "Sue" Owen lost her son, U.S. Army Specialist John Owen, when he was killed in Vietnam July 3, 1970.

The 82-year-old war mother received the traditional Gold Star Flag during the town's Veterans Day ceremony in the high school auditorium Friday.

The presentation, organized by the Payson Patriotic Events Committee, brought tears to Owen's eyes as she accepted the flag.

"Only in Payson, Arizona would someone prepare a precious program like this after 35 years," Owen said.

She spoke of her son's love of playing football in Payson.

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Honoring the day with music and story, students from the Payson High School drama department and Modern Choir participated in the town's Veterans Day ceremony Friday.

"One day, in high school, he came home and said, ‘Mom, I'm glad I get to live in Payson. They wouldn't even waste a uniform on me in a big city school.' He had a good life -- we had a good life. If John is looking down from heaven, and Robert too, they would say, ‘Thank you, Payson, for being so kind and loving.'"

John's body was interred in Payson's Pioneer Cemetery and lies beside that of his father, Robert Owen, a World War II veteran.

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