Community remembers fallen Army soldier Lori Piestewa

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Dozens of people gathered Thursday morning to pay tribute to fallen Army soldier Lori Piestewa on the 14th anniversary of her death.

“It is special for the Piestewa family to be here every year,” event organizer Ernest Martinez said.

The sunrise memorial service was held at the base of Piestewa Peak, the mountain re-named in her honor.

Piestewa was killed on March 23, 2003, when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq. She was the first Native American woman in U.S. history to die in combat overseas.

Thursday’s service not only honored Piestewa, but other Arizonans who have died while fighting for our country.

“We so often forget that they have given their life (lives) so we can have the freedoms we do have, the freedoms to be here to commemorate and honor them,” Percy Piestewa, Lori’s mother, said.

Even though it’s been 14 years since Piestewa died, her legacy continues to live on in her kids.

“Lori’s son, Brandon, graduates this year out of high school. His sister will graduate next year out of high school. They’re pulling like 4.2 grade point averages. I don’t know if their mom looks down on them and says, every day, you guys do your thing. But they are awesome kids,” Piestewa said. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Kylee CruzArizona native Kylee Cruz joined CBS 5 News as a reporter in August 2014. You can catch her reporting every morning on CBS 5's "Wake Up Arizona!" and 3TV's "Good Morning! Arizona." She's also a fill-in weather anchor.

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Kylee Cruz

Before working in Phoenix, Kylee spent three years reporting for KXLY in Spokane, WA During her time in the Inland Northwest, Kylee reported on a wide variety of topics from winter snowstorms to summer wildfires, and regularly filled in on the anchor desk. Kylee grew up in Yuma and graduated summa cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. While in college, Kylee covered her first big story in Tucson when Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot. She was selected as the Cronkite School’s Outstanding Graduate and was even the university’s Homecoming Queen her senior year. Growing up, Kylee always knew she wanted to be a reporter. When she was just 6, her neighbor started calling her "Cub Reporter" because she asked so many questions. That curiosity has only grown over the years! When Kylee’s not reporting, she loves traveling, home decorating and trying out unique restaurants. She’s a bit of a foodie! Kylee’s always looking for a good story. If you have an idea, email her at

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