(WHTM)– The third Friday in September is POW/MIA Recognition Day.
This week in the state senate one of the most famous POWs of the last 50 years was honored by a lawmaker who helped to rescue her.
“Please give warm senate welcome to Private First Class Jessica Lynch,” Senator Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny County) said.
A standing ovation, and a rare speaking role on the floor.
“Thank you so much for your love and support,” Lynch said.
But in March 2003, there wasn’t applause for the 19-year-old Lynch. There was an ambush.
“I had my back broke, my arms snapped, my left femur was surgically removed and my left tibia was smashed with a like metal pipe and then my right foot was completely shattered,” Lynch said.
And she was captured, and when asked if she thought she was going to die…
“I did, yeah,” Lynch said.
“I was in Nasiriya, Iraq, in March 23rd, 2003, 20 years ago,” Robinson said.
Marine Lance Corporal Devlin Robinson also 19 was part of the daring rescue mission that Lynch will never forget.
“It was all chaos at that moment,” Lynch said. “There was a lot of bombs exploding in the background.”
“We got her out,” Robinson said.
The first rescued POW since World War Two. The first American woman ever snatched from enemy hands.
“And then two weeks later, we got the remaining five POWs back in Baghdad,” Robinson said. “So it’s a successful operation and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Lynch is a mom, substitute school teacher and motivational speaker. She was hailed as a hero but says her rescuers deserve that title. Robinson is now a Republican Senator and fighting the partisan fight but says the Marines taught him an important bipartisan lesson.
“That we’re always there for each other,” Robinson said. “And it’s all politics goes out the window at that point. And you’re just going to make sure that you’re going to fight for those on the left and right of you.”
When Robinson was asked if he knew whether Lynch was a Republican or a Democrat?
“I don’t,” Robinson said.