Former POW Jessica Lynch speaks to veterans in Pigeon Forge

Former POW Jessica Lynch speaks to veterans in Pigeon Forge

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Former POW Jessica Lynch addressed a group of veteran in Pigeon Forge Thursday. Former POW Jessica Lynch addressed a group of veteran in Pigeon Forge Thursday.
"My message is about perseverance," said Lynch. "I feel no matter what obstacles, or struggles, or fears life has handed you, that if you use perseverance that you can over come it and just strive on." "My message is about perseverance," said Lynch. "I feel no matter what obstacles, or struggles, or fears life has handed you, that if you use perseverance that you can over come it and just strive on."
"It's veterans like her that will keep this nation going and continue to make this nation the land of the free and the home of the brave," said veteran Ronald Ward. "It's veterans like her that will keep this nation going and continue to make this nation the land of the free and the home of the brave," said veteran Ronald Ward.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - Former POW Jessica Lynch addressed a group of veteran in Pigeon Forge Thursday.

Lynch was serving in the U.S. Army back in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq.     

She was captured on March 23, 2002 after the convoy she was riding in was ambushed. She was rescued nine days later.     

Lynch was the first POW rescued since Vietnam, and the first ever woman to be rescued.

It has now been ten years since Lynch was rescued from Iraq, and since then she has had over 20 surgeries and still has difficulties walking.     

She says besides those struggles, her message is one of determination.

"This afternoon, I would like to talk to you about my experience in Iraq," said Lynch at the event.

Lynch was asked to come to the Dixie Stampede Thursday to help kick off Winterfest, and also address hundreds of East Tennessee veterans.

"My message is about perseverance," said Lynch. "I feel no matter what obstacles, or struggles, or fears life has handed you, that if you use perseverance that you can over come it and just strive on."    

Lynch was only 19 when her convoy was attacked.     

Of the 33 soldiers with her, 11 were killed.

"I remember my fellow comrades' courage, and then for me, nothing," she said. "I had been knocked unconscious."    

She says during the nine days she was in an Iraqi hospital, she never gave up. She hopes that others will learn from that will to live.

"I think one of the things I talk about, you got to wake up," she said. "You got to continue on. Whatever your trying to accomplish that day, you gotta go for it."    

Some in the crowd had a personal connection to Lynch.

"I was just a very small part of a medical team and preparation upon her rescue," said retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Colleen Scott. "I saw her. I met her. I'm sure she doesn't remember."    

Everyone is very proud of Lynch's sacrifice.

"It's veterans like her that will keep this nation going and continue to make this nation the land of the free and the home of the brave," said veteran Ronald Ward.

Lynch now lives back home in West Virginia.        

Since leaving the military, she earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education, and is currently pursuing her master's degree.        

Lynch is also the ambassador for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in West Virginia.

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