Memories of Jesse
Hi, Your son is a hero, he is the type of person that makes this country great! I am so sorry for your loss. Walt Gutowski
I can say from the bottom of my heart that Jesse was the closest example of the love of Christ and someone with pure joy that I have ever had the priveledge of knowing. My husband is also a solider and spent four years in Iraq- he never had the blessing of mtg Jesse but I have told him all about his amazing character and legacy. Just the other day my husband said to me..." I wonder what the world would be like if there were more people like your friend Jesse Strong". It is my desire in life to try to live the kind of life he lived- a man after God's own heart.
I've been meaning to do this for a long time. Words are really not enough to express my feelings about Jesse Strong. We never met him or anyone in the family, however my son is a Marine. While at a local hockey game to support our local deployed Marines, I learned that a member of his reserve unit ( Chris Gentry) would be appearing in a CNN specail that night. Since I have met both Gentry twins, I made plans to have it taped if we did not get home in time to see it. As you can guess the CNN Special was "Ambush At The River of Secrets" Our son is also a combat engineer and was stationed up the Euphrates River from Haditha. This special was a real revelation to me and my wife. Even though our son was in Iraq for the second time, we still had never gotten the "real" story that this show provided. The families were just like us, and the young men were just like ours. In addition Jesse's family goes to church like we do and we sing the same hyms. I will unashamedly admit that I cried through most of the show. At the same time, I was, and am so proud of people like the Strongs. I am so glad you shared your story of your son's life. Not just his service to his country, but even more importantly, his service to God. I still hear his taped words that they included in the program. Our son was wounded about two months prior to the airing of the CNN program that I saw on January 26th, 2007. He was wounded by an IED while he was on foot patrol near Rawah. His injuries were not severe and has fully recovered. When our son came home from Iraq, I thought of Jesse and the other young men covered in the CNN program. I thanked God for bringing him home to us, I thank God for those like Jesse who gave their lives for our country and I thanked God for the families of both. As a Christian, I believe I am going to Heavan one day and I really have no concept of what it will be. I do know that it would be a heavenly experience tjust o be able to spend eternity hugging each and every soul like Jesse. I am a 53 year old married man of 32 years to the mother of our 3 sons. I hope I haven't been melodromadic or too rambling with this message. I will end it with a huge THANK YOU to the Strong family and I know, Mrs. Strong, you will get that "thank you" from an Iraqi one day. Gratefully yours, Mike Simmons
Memorial Day is a time to cry and laugh for me. Tears come when I think of missing Jesse and laughter comes from remembering his antics and his great big laugh. Somehow, all those childhood years of watching the parade go by and covering my ears when the gun salute went off prepared me to feel deep love and patriotism for my country, but didn't prepare me for the day i would cry when watching Memorial Day exercises. It makes our history so much more personal. Thanks to Jesse for being willing to serve his country. He follows in the footsteps of centuries of heroes, but most of all he follows in the footsteps of the greatest Hero of all. I am remembering Jesse with gratefulness. his aunt Lynn
For those of you that do not know me Jesse was my roommate our sophomore year at Liberty . The following year, as juniors Jesse served as Spiritual Life Director (SLD) on the hall with myself as one of the two Resident Assistants (RA). It was during that Junior year that I had a major dental problem and Jesse drove me 400 miles from Liberty to Pittsburgh to see my home dentist as I was in too much pain to drive myself. The day after my dental surgery we went out to eat with my family at a small restaurant in my hometown before heading back to Liberty . It was a typical day in Western Pennsylvania ; it was dark, cold, gloomy, and raining. As we walked out to the car Jesse looked into the sky and smiled ear to ear and said "Neat, it's raining" Jesse was a man who embodied happiness in all he did. He reflected the heart of Christ not only in being an incredible servant but people saw something different in him at all times…they saw a Christ-like attitude about life. Today is the 5th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom and today more than ever I think of Jesse. I wish I could tell him "Thank you" for the impact he made in my life. Sometimes in death a person’s character is inflated to only reflect the “Good” in them and the “Bad” is discarded in the human effort not to say evil things about someone who has passed away. But, I truly will say that without doubt Jesse was the greatest man I have personally ever known. I don’t say it because he is gone and I only remember the good things about him, I say it because in all the years I knew him I couldn’t tell you something bad about him if I wanted to because he was that close to God. Jesse, we on Earth miss you. This world lost a great asset when you left it early. Hopefully, those of us who knew you can reflect just a little bit of your attitude and personality in our lives and in that way your testimony will never die. We love and miss you. Thank you. Michael
Some days it seems like Jesse died just a few minutes ago and other days it seems like he has been gone forever. Lately it seems like he just died recently, at least for me. I will never forget Jesse and the example he set for myself and the rest of the guys on Dorm 9 as a Christian, friend, and as a man. I can honestly say that Jesse impacted my life in a way that few others ever have or ever will. Jesse was the definition of a life changed and lived for others and for Christ. I miss him and believe the world is worse off without him. I wish that I could have taken his place on that truck because I know he was a better man than I. I hope we all never forget not only his sacrifice but also his life and the many things he did for all of us. Jesse was so special. I remember once when I was going through some trouble and had been asking people to pray for me. Everyone assured me that they would pray for me and then would go about their daily activities. When I asked Jesse to pray for me he stopped what he was doing and immediately prayed with me. I cannot even begin to explain how uplifting this was for me. That single act defines Jesse for me and always will.
Hello to all of you, Yesterday, we remembered about Jesse's passing 3 years ago and today we entered his name in the net and saw this special site about him and his life. Very nice by the way. We hope that you are all doing fine. We are thinking about you often and will never forget Jesse. Love, Otto & Chantal
To the Strong family, What an inspiration Jesse's life has been! I think about him and all the others that were killed that tragic night, often. Jesse, Johnathan Bowling, Chris Weaver, & Karl Linn will always live on in my heart and mind and the hearts and minds of the others that had the honor of serving with them. I will always remember this date! I will always remember them! I will NEVER FORGET! ~Corporal Justin Davenport
Nate, Vicki, Matthew, and Heather, Just a quick note to say that I continue to think of Jesse and you often. I keep the card he sent me from Iraq on my desk as well as a copy of his picture. His life is an inspiration to my family and me. Every year during this time I take time to think about him as well as you. You are special indeed. Love, Phillip, Jamie, and Brenden Dunn
Hey you guys. I remember when Jesse sat next to me in church, and he drew me a rose, and written next to it was, you are the beautiful girl in the world. I wish he could still sit next to me and draw me pictures. I do know that I will see him again. And until then, I will try to be the best that I can, just as he would want me to be. I loved him sooo much, and I know that he still watches over me. Love you all... Shannon D
My 5 year old and 3 year old sons pray for your family and all of the other veterans and veterans' families nightly. After learning a little about your son and your family on the CNN broadcast and this website, I pray that I can raise my sons to grow to be the type of man that Jesse obviously was. I have printed out Jesse's story and when my sons get a little older, I will tell them your son's story. I pray that you have peace.
Another one of America's finest who did the dirtiest job that allows everyone else to have their freedom, and certainly not for money or fame. I thank God I can call Jesse a brother of mine, and I most certainly will never forget his sacrifice. Everyday I fly an American flag a MC flag and put a light on them at night. I never served with Jesse but I was in from June 2002 to June 2006 and I know I would have loved every minute of serving with him. He is a HERO along with all the others that have paid the price, and I want to say thank you to Jesse's family and email me if there is anything I can do. Semper Fi Andy
To The Strong Family, I also am a STRONG!! And from reading about your son Jesse, he was a very strong individual who fought for the country he believed in. I just saw your message play on T.V and I found it very powerful. I know your son is smiling down on you, along with my father Douglas Strong who just recently passed away suddenly. God Bless you and yours, Jennifer
Dear Jesse's family I personally do not know you but I want you to know that your son was a mighty hero, One that becasue of him we as Americans can hold our heads up high. I fly my flag today for the memories of Jesse. Just remember he is in the arms of Jesus looking down and watching. I heard Jesse's mom on WCBM radio yesterday speaking to Tom Marr. All I could do was cry. But I do want to thank you for Jesse. And thank Jesse for giving His all. One day I will meet him in heaven. Because of his story i am getting involved in all i can do to keep the works going until all is finished.
Dear Jesse and Family, I see so many parallels between Jesse's life and my own. From a loving God fearing family, to the decision to serve, and the joy of life. I would like you to know that after coming back to my faith in bootcamp I have since strayed again... but reading about Jesse's devotion to Christ has sprung something inside of me. I am rarely an emotional man but I was brought to tears after seeing your son's memorial sight... not out of sorrow so much as the love that did and still surrounds him. You truly are a remarkable family that raised a remarkable man. With a younger brother now serving in the Corps and a father since retired from it my family is all too familiar with what "could happen" but I'll take a lesson from Jesse if I may and continue to focus on "excitement about what the future may hold". Semper Fidelis Brother. I'll see you when I get there. May God continue to bless you and I will keep you in my prayers, Joshua Maida (Sgt USMC)
Jesse will never ever be forgotten. I proudly fly my flag in honor of men like Jesse and the American freedom they preserve. Thank you, Vicki, for sharing with Freedoms Watch. I'll gladly stand behind you any day. Jesse must be so proud of you. God bless you.
To the friends and family of Jesse Strong: While our country has lost thousands of brave young men and women during the war on terror, each of us will be more affected by the loss of those close to us. Recently, my family held its annual reunion at Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia. We hold it there every year. My new wife and I shared cabin 4, where Jesse's parents apparently stayed, I believe it was last summer. Within the guestbook for that cabin, they had written about their stay at Fairy Stone along with the parents of another fallen hero. I read what they had to write several times during the week we were there, and on the day we were going to leave I cryed. I wanted to write something special in our own entry in the guestbook, and I did. However, I also wanted to let you know that the memorial you left for Jesse in that cabin in Southwestern Virginia touched me and my wife. I work as a contractor supporting the Marine Corps, and as I explain it to my mother, I help to make the equipment our Marines use, to be safe for their use. As such, my life is dedicated to protecting the lives of all of those Devildogs, who are out risking theirs for our freedom. I want to thank you for raising such an amazing young man as Jesse. If not for all of the men and women like your son, we would not be the great nation we are today. And your tribute to Jesse did not go unnoticed by the rest of us. Your son, and your family, are in my thoughts and prayers. Semper Fidelis
Dear Parents of Jesse I was so sorry to hear about your son's passing. He seemed like a fine young man and you must be very proud of him. I'm from Great Britain and live in the Cayman Islands. I don't agree with the war in Iraq and so wish that our young people didn't have to be there fighting these evil people. As I was watching CNN's report about your son, it was interrupted by the "breaking news" of Tammy Faye's death. I was in tears as I was listening about your son and was appalled that CNN interrupted the programe. It was very insensitive of them to do this (I have complained). I'm not a religious person but I do believe in good over evil and know what is right and wrong. My heart is with you. I have a young son of 16 months and I hope when he grows up, this war is over and that the world can be in peace. Kind regards, Aileen Duncan-Hunn
To the Strong family, My condolences go out to you. It's extremely heartwarming to see the response you have gotten from this website from everyone sharing their love and their condolences to you. I, too, have friends who are currently in Iraq, with whom, I get only a few chances to speak with them. One of my closest friends is over there at the moment and every chance I get and it scares the living daylights out of me just because I know how hard it is for them over there. I admire Jesse's willingness to have signed up for the Marines and I give kudos to the others that do also. What I guess I'm trying to get at is is that you guys live up to your name. You guys are strong in the mind, heart, and soul. God bless your family and may Jesse rest in peace. God bless our soldiers for doing such a deed.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Strong, The night of Memorial day I watched a CNN news special about the story of your son and the three other Marines that were killed with him. I just wanted to let you know how deeply sorry I am for your loss. My fiance is a 1st Lt. in the Marine Corp and is deployed in Iraq right now... this time is a little rough on me but I am getting through it day by day. God Bless you both and may you continue to heal. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Ashley Thomson