White Sulphur Springs, WV - Saturday marks ten years since Jessica Lynch was taken prisoner in Iraq. The West Virginia native sat down with her sister-in-law, WSET reporter Angela Hatcher, to reflect on the event and share what she's doing now.
"I completely was out of my element with this being drug into the spotlight," said Lynch, in the interview Tuesday at The Greenbrier.
It was a spotlight Lynch, then 19, was helpless to avoid. She looked just as helpless, in the dramatic video of her rescue from an Iraqi hospital by U.S. Special Forces in 2003.
"It feels like yesterday. The visions of being over there, the smell, just the sights and stuff. I remember everything as clear as can be," said Lynch. "Then you think back and wow, it's been a decade of physical therapy and having to live with the injuries and everything like that and it definitely, that definitely feels like it has been ten years."
Lynch turns 30 next month. She sits before our camera and older and wiser version of that pretty, blonde soldier everyone remembers. She earned her undergraduate degree in Education in 2011, to fulfill her dream of becoming a school teacher. Lynch is currently working on a master's degree in Communication Studies. She joined the Army to earn college money.
Lynch is also a mother to Dakota Ann, 6, named to honor Lynch's friend Lori Ann Piestewa, who died in Iraq.
"She is the light of my life," said Lynch. "She knows that mommy was in war, but she doesn't know the full details of what I actually went through."
Lynch has endured 21 surgeries, with more to come. She never regained feeling in her left leg.
"I'm not going to get any better. It's been 10 years. There's nothing else they can do to help me," said Lynch.
Her broken body will never fully heal, but after nine days in captivity and ten years of reflection, Lynch has proven her spirit is unbreakable.
"I'm able to continue and strive on and that's what I want," said Lynch.