ELIZABETH, W.Va. (WBOY) — On March 23, 2003, PFC Jessica Lynch, 19 of the US Army was captured in Iraq. For the past 20 years, she has spent her time recovering through countless surgeries and traveling the country to tell her story.
According to a release, on Saturday, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of her capture, Lynch was officially recognized and entered into permanent record by the Military Women’s Memorial (MWM) as the first-ever POW to be rescued by the United States. She was presented the Living Legend award by the President of the MWM, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Phyllis J. Wilson, US Army Retired.
Lynch also served as a keynote speaker at a dinner in the Capitol that celebrated March as Women’s History Month.
On Sunday, Lynch was honored once more at the Military Women’s Memorial Museum, where she was able to be interviewed by Brigadier General Carol Eggert, US Army Retired, and Senior VP, Military and Veteran Affairs. After the interview, Lynch spent nearly two hours signing her book for over 100 people who lined up to meet her, take photos, and thank her.
After being rescued by US forces in Iraq, Lynch was transported to a hospital in Germany to recover before eventually being sent home to a hospital in Washington D.C., where her story effectively became the face of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lynch received both a Bronze Star, Prisoner of War and Purple Heart medals for her service, according to the Military Women’s Memorial.
Lynch has spent the 20 years since her capture working to give back to her home state of West Virginia. Lynch received a teaching degree from West Virginia University at Parkersburg (WVUP) in 2011, according to the university’s website. She spent the following years as a substitute teacher in Wood and Wirt counties, per CNN.
Jessica Lynch’s professional Facebook page can be found here.