Her rescue by US Special Forces on April 1, 2003, marked the first successful rescue of an American prisoner of war since World War II. Wirt County, West Virginia native, Jessica Lynch was just 19 years old at the time. 

Many of us remember the day Jessica was injured and captured by Iraqi forces after her unit was ambushed in Iraq. Now on the 16th anniversary of her rescue, she is not just a former POW; she is a mother, a college graduate, a motivational speaker, and of course, a survivor!

It was a day Jessica Lynch had prayed for after nine days in captivity American soldiers were there to take her home.

“I remember everything about that day,” exclaimed Lynch. “It was a very chaotic day to say the least. I knew something was up when I could hear noises that I hadn’t heard in the last nine days. I knew there was something that was about to happen, I just didn’t know what.”

“I remember them coming in and getting me,” Lynch added. “But after that, I just blacked out.”

Jessica spent the next 12 days at a US military hospital in Germany before finally arriving back in the United States to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“I think it’s something inside of you that you keep fighting for and want to fight for,” said Lynch. “And for me, it was that perseverance, it was that never give up attitude.”

An attitude that helped her survive when she got back home, as well. She still requires a brace on her leg and is still in physical therapy twice a week due to the injuries she suffered. 

“I know I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life,” Lynch said. “But again, I’m blessed I’m here. I’m able to tell my story where some of my comrades were not.” 

Now she hopes to use her voice in a positive way to help other veterans who are suffering too.

“I’m not sure if you can see it, but the shirt I’m wearing says Never Give Up To The War Within,” said Lynch. “It’s to end veteran suicide. It happens all the time. That’s something that I have been passionately working with.”

She now also enjoys taking to her social media pages to share her positive messages and to honor other veterans. 

Jessica says, on this day she is reminded and humbled by of all of the prayers and support that her community across the tri-state has shown her over the past 16 years. She is eternally grateful. And, she continues to pray for those service members who are still serving and haven’t yet made it back home.