Jessica Lynch Becomes A Hero – 7/22/2003

US History |

On July 22nd 2003 Army Private Jessica Lynch returned home from Iraq. This is not the average story of a military veteran coming home after a tour of duty. Jessica Lynch was a prisoner of war. She was rescued from a hospital in Iraq and received a hero’s welcome upon her return to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. 

Jessica Lynch was only 19 when her vehicle crashed during an ambush in Nasiriya Iraq. She was part of the Ordnance Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas. The ambush took place only days after U.S. forces invaded Iraq. She was part of a supply convoy that took a wrong turn.

She sustained broken bones and other injuries during the ambush and was taken to an Iraqi hospital to be held. Eight of her company members were killed. On April first she was rescued by U.S. Special Forces who raided the hospital. Her story gained national media attention and in a single night she became a massive celebrity. Some news outlets perpetuated the story that after she was ambushed she demonstrated courage by fighting back and defending her fellow company members.

The story gained a controversial element when Lynch couldn’t remember what happened to her. Later, her statements changed when she was asked what happened. She said she was knocked unconscious when the envoy crashed.

While most assumed that the infiltration of the hospital was violent, but later it was revealed that Lynch was not mistreated by the staff and was let go amicably. Critics charged the US Government with embellishing Lynch’s story to help boost morale and enhance the idea of patriotism around the US during the Iraq war.

In August of 2003 all points proved that the government was behind a lot of the mistaken facts. Though she received a medical honorable discharged Lynch testified that the government did in fact falsify her experience. Congress got involved and though she collaborated with a ghost writer on a book regarding her experiences, it was proven that the government had its hand in that venture as well. She was portrayed as “little girl Rambo” and basically became the face of the war effort for a number of months. 

This is yet another case of exaggerated efforts by the US government to perpetuate a certain image despite the facts. Can you actually trust what’s happening in times of war, or in times of peace? This shed light on the media’s influence on certain situations and made people more conscious of how and why they consume certain stories on the news and online. 

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Autumn Mcleod

Senior Writer

Autumn came to us really wanting to break away from the politics that came with working for major news sites. She leads our positive story writers in creating the best, engaging stories out there. She is an enthusiast of all things from the roaring twenties.