- (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Jessica Lynch is commemorating the 10-year anniversary of her rescue from Iraq. A lot has changed for the former prisoner of war in the past 10 years, but one thing remains the same: she still suffers from traumatic nightmares.
"I'm to the point where now I'm doing okay. I still live in the same little ol' town," Lynch told The El Paso Times. "This could have been so much worse. At least I got to come home, and I'm able to continue my life."
Just 10 years ago, Lynch and six other soldiers were taken prisoner during an ambush in an Iraqi desert. Lynch was one of the few who came home after the ambush; she lost 11 members of her unit during the firefight, including her best friend Lori Piestewa.
"It's so hard to continue every day knowing that Lori didn't make it home with me," Lynch told "Today." "The reason she went over there was to be with me and our other comrades, and sadly she didn't get to come back home, so I'm having to deal with the fact that my best friend didn't get to come back and I did. She had two beautiful kids; it's just really hard to know they're going to have to grow up without their mom."
Lynch's rescue was captured on film, making it a media sensation that led to rumors of fabrication by the Army and even Lynch. She went before Congress to testify on her behalf and assert the fact that she was not a hero but a survivor. She also told her story in her memoirs, which expanded upon her personal story and survival in Iraq.
While Lynch's life has changed dramatically in the past few years, she has gotten her degree and now works as a teacher and motivational speaker, is engaged to be married and has a 6-year-old daughter, one thing is constant: traumatic nightmares.
"About every night I have some kind of dream where there's someone chasing me. It's hard. It really is mentally and physically draining. I'm very blessed and happy to be here, and I think that's what counts the most, and if I tell myself that I'm okay, I eventually start thinking, 'You know what? I can do this,'" Lynch explained.
"I'm kind of happy that we're finally to this 10-year mark so that I can finally put Iraq in the past," Lynch said. "I know that it will always be with me. It's nice to make that mark of 'I've made it this far.' It's always going to be with my life, waking up every day and dealing with the injuries. I go on and I strive and I do the best that I can."
Watch Lynch speak about her experience here: