Memories of Jesse
Always remembered. With compassion,
Mr and Mrs. Strong and family, I was so touched with the beautiful tribute you have made for your son. Tragedy has stricken so many families during this war and it touched us here at the fire department the past few weeks when one of our firefighters lost his son in Iraq. As a Christian, I know that these fine women and men are with their maker in a much better place but my heart as a mother still questions why the senseless loss of life in a country that does not want us there and who has never experienced the freedom that so many take for granite. My sincerest condolescenes to you and your family from one greatful American who can never thank those that have sacrificed so much. God be with you and confort you each day. Mary
Dear Mr and Mrs Strong, I am so saddened by your loss. From what i have read and learned about Jesse It seems like you raised a wonderful young man. May God hold you in his loving arms and comfort you. My son is named Jesse Strong also and i consider his name to be an honor. May God Bless you. Ellen Strong
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Strong: I felt so compelled to search for Jesse's website on the internet after I viewed on CNN, The River of Secrets special in honor of your son. I cried all the way through this program and I am so sorry for your loss. I too have served over in that theater, and it fills all members of the Armed Forces when one of our fellow brothers gives his life for the cause of freedom. My prayers, hopes, thoughts and dreams will always be with you. I too have lost friends in theater, and it has left an everlasting hole in my heart. One day all of our brethen will return home, and I pray with the hope that we can all look back on this, and say it was not in vein. Please again accept my humble and sincere prayers, and may they keep you all in peace. Can you please tell me if I wanted to pay my respects to Jesse, where would I go in VT? I am familiar with VT as I used to live in upstate NY near Burlington. God Bless you all. Sincerely, And Very Respectfully Technical Sergeant Mark J. Woolley United States Air Force
Up early in Birmingham, Alabama this Saturday morning with CNN News on in the background of my computer. My heart is snatched with a mother sharing about two men in dress blues at their front door. I quickly searched for "Jesse Strong" on the Internet. Here I am and my heart is saddened even more to read the reflection of Jesse's life by his mother. What a son! What a family! Now and forever when I think of "a mother's love," I will remember you Mrs. Strong. Thank you for sharing Jesse with us. With compassion, Mike Sawyer Birmingham, Alabama
i just knew you from baseball, but i remember you were always a gamer..."are you ready for some baseball!!!" haha...catch up with you later man.
I never knew Jesse, but as I read more and more I feel like I do know him. There is something about a young man who leads by example. There is something about him that he puts his life on the line for what he believes, and for people who do not know him. To put your life on the line and come to terms with it is a great hurdle to overcome in itself for some, but for others they do it without thought. They do it because it is the right thing to do. As I have come to know about this special young man I have started to realize that I have become a little bit to far away from my Lord. Reading about him makes me remember a time in my own life when I used to be a little bit softer, a little bit more giving, and not as hard as I have become over the years. Jesse is a fine example of a young man on the right track of life. Each night before I go to sleep I thank the Lord for Men and women like Jesse who put it all out there for me, so I can enjoy my life freely. When I wake up my first words are "Thanks Lord" again for his greatness and for people like Jesse. Recently I learned of Jesse's story and now when I say my thanks I say it for Jesse in particular, and his family for whom has had to make such a tall sacrifice. I say a prayer every day for Jesse's family. To all of you who read this that serve: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you give and sacrifice, and God bless your families. Jesse obviously came from a "Strong" family, just the way God intended it to be. I look forward to meeting him one day.
In a postcard that Jesse mailed to his folks that arrived two weeks after his death, he wrote: "I am excited for what the future holds." This is so Jesse. He would ask how you were doing, and care for the answer. As one who looked forward in terms of others, his words on that postcard are prophetic, the words written a week before the first Iraq elections, and now far expanding with God's use of his example in life to speak to so many; able to impact nations. A Marine with fascination and search for the challenges in life, an ever-growing personal relationship with God, and that ready laugh. And for our nation's defense, Jesse is a steady force today on a tough and transformational program to bring protection and tactics to Soldiers and Marines while enabling them to continue engagement with civilians. Jesse sets the standard to hold the course, look beyond personal sacrifice and accomplish the most difficult, and carry humor within the game. And on this, I believe he is up in Heaven with some extra C4 to blow open doors that need opening on this program. May our nation join this young Marine Hero in resolve to do what right.
Jesse, It was a pleasure serving with you over in Iraq. As a Sniper we always enjoyed when you went out on missions with us..your smile was infectious and you were an anchor spiritually. I just watched the CNN report and it brought back many memories of us sharing the office at Haditha with you guys. You are truly missed. -Stephen Johnson
I will never forget room 5 of dorm 9 at Liberty University. That is the place that Jesse led me to Christ and helped me understand the message that i had all but lost. I know he touched so many lives, Jesse was a friend to all and many feel his loss. Its the little things that are most important. Like haircuts and vacume cleaners. (as SLD of Dorm 9 he was responsible for checking our the vacume) I come back to this site every now and then to be reminded of him. I do say with honesty that Jesse helped me become the man I am today. Thank you Jesse, You were a true Friend.
I came across a picture of Jesse the other day...and the memory that came back to me was at LU's Jr/Sr Banquet. We had gone together as a group and were sitting around the dinner table, enjoying the comic they had hired for entertainment, only I look up to see Jesse, arms folded across his chest, hat pulled down over his eyes...SLEEPING!!! The room was alive with laughter and Jesse slept so peacefully. We couldn't bear to wake him up. 🙂 But we did manage to get pictures. Jesse could walk into Convocation and you'd spot him in an instant. He didn't say anything, he didn't make a grand entrance. He simply donned a pair of Elvis style glasses and quietly found a seat, acting as if there wasn't a thing out of place. I was guaranteed to smile on those days. There wasn't a moment spent with Jesse that was wasted. He made every one count and I only hope I can do the same with others. We were RA's together, we were friends, and we were family in God's eyes. Thank you for giving us the chance to remember him and keep his beautiful spirit alive.
I was never fortunate enough to meet Jesse but when I learned of his loss and read further about this fallen warrior I discovered someone who's heart was true, his faith unshakable, his intentions pure and now, with the ultimate sacrifice made, his legacy enduring. It was clear to me, immediately, that this was someone who embodies much of the Lord's teachings. He lived his faith, and his spirit lives on after his death in Iraq. Most probably hope to accomplish as much in such short a time span as Jesse had with us in this life.
To my brother that I dearly miss, I will always remember how you were and cherish the best times I had with our platoon. I wake up each day with the thought of how can I make a difference in life the way you have and wishing the power to change time. I am so honored to have served with you and I promise that you will not be forgotten. I will celebrate your life and share our memories to all that I meet in my future commands. Rest in peace my friend and I shall see you when I reach Glory. Sgt Gentry
I am priviledged to be related to Jesse. His dad, Nate, is the patient big brother who took me fishing and gently taught me about the God we both serve. Throughout this last year I have been blindsided with "Jesse moments" that have me in tears. So, with January 26 coming up, I was apprehensive of what the emotions would be like. I got out some videos filmed at past Christmases and other gatherings of our extended family. My daughters and I watched hours of the fellowship and fun we have had. Woven throughout the films was Jesse's ballet leaps with his young cousins, jokes with his brother and sister, his comic touches arising (literally) in the lens, his attentive and caring listening to others, his joy of being with family, his wiffle ball home runs, his cueing the singing for his parents' 25th, and most of all his wonderful, loud laugh. Even when he wasn't in the picture, his laugh could be heard. I think that is how I feel him now. He isn't with us, but that laugh still rings through our lives. I can imagine him enjoying time with the Author of laughter and joy. Thank you, Lord, for that laugh. Keep laughing, Jess. We'll be with you soon.
Jesse, you are so precious to me and I miss you so much. I'll be 23 in two days. I pray that your present to me this year will be knowing the joy you now experience more and more each day. I love you. Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere....
As I kept reading the martyrdom legacy of Jesse, I had a compellng passion to acknowledge his deep sense of patriotism and compassion for Christ. As a disciple wrote, " As I live, I live for Christ, and when I die, I die for Christ". Jesse lived his life for Christ by subscribing to the message of truth, justice and peace. Your mission in Iraq was based on the vision of the liberty of oppressed. Jesse, 'YOU ARE A MAN". Your sacrificial blood would bring into reality, the absolute peace of the world that you stand for. 'The last blood drop of a falling hero brings peace and liberation to a future generation". Your departure was untimely, but was for a genuine cause. You did fight a good fight with your might. Your life was devoid of cowardice. You are a true valiant!! You are "OSAGYEFO", a brave warrior in Akan language. Damirifua Due!! Damirifa Due!!. May your soul rest in peace.
I was good friends with Jesse and still keep in touch with his parents. I was sadden at his death. I was at Camp Shelby in MIssissippi, training to come to Iraq when I found out in March. It still hurts one year after but I know that he is in heaven and we will all see him again in Glory. I went to Liberty with him and helped him with his fears about basic when he joined the Marines. Even though I am in the Army and he was in the Marines we both knew that we were serving the same country and it helped both of us in our military duties. We still had that friendly interbrach compition between us. We even went to Church at Thomas Road together in our uniforms for Veterens Day. After September 11, 2001 we both had so many come up to us and thank us for our service to the country. It always made Jesse proud to wear the uniform and be a big part of something bigger than he was. As I serve here in Iraq I think about him every day and the thought of his sacrifice helps me get through the tough times because I know that he went through them before I have. I draw strength from that and press on to finish the good work that he left behind. I will never forget his service and his sacrifice as long as I live. I will come home for you Jesse. PVT. David Reid B. CO. 1-125 INF. John 15:13 "Love has no one greater than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
I wasn't fortunate enough to know Jesse as long as others. Neither did I have the opportunity to know Jesse as well as I would have liked. The memories I have of him are limited to the one year that I had the pleasure of spending on Dorm 9 at Liberty University. Whether it was giving me a haircut, or talking to me about his golf swing, I truly appreciated every moment we shared. When I got word of his passing I felt that the influence which Jesse had on me had ended. Little did I know that it had just begun. Over this past year I can truly say that Jesse has impacted my life, as well as those of my friends, family, and students in a way which I'm sure would have made him smile. The legacy that he has left behind is one of love, compassion, and dedication. A legacy which is carried on by his BEAUTIFUL family. Though Jesse is no longer here, I know that I am a better person because I once knew him. And today, almost one year since Jesse went home to the Lord, I can say that his impact on my life continues. Through the love and acceptance his family has shown me, there is a constant reminder that Jesse is not far. With my eyes on the sky, I know that I will see Jesse soon, and that he will be waiting with a big smile, and open arms.
I was Jesse's platoon sergeant his entire career with the Marines. I have so many fond memories of him both as a Marine and as person. I have struggled with my faith my entire adult life. Jesse was and is the only person I have discussed my doubts in detail with. He never pushed his views or values on me, he mostly listened and then tried to educate. His voice was always so sure and confident about what he would discuss. This was his gift, the ability to witness to people in their world. He did not need a church, or podium, or an organ with a choir...he was powerful without any of those things. I found my discussions with him to be challenging. I have so many questions and as our conversations mounted I slowly ask these one by one. He never once got frustrated or impatient. He even admitted that he did not have a good answer sometimes but would find out. I will never forget Jesse Strong, Chris Weaver, Jonathon Bowling, or Karl Linn. The memories I have of these Marines are among my most cherished. I look forward to discussing the caliber of these individuals to my two daughters when they get older. I was fortunate to know these men as Marines but I was blessed to know them as people and I continue to see the blessing they brought to the world on a daily basis as I slowly learn more and more about each one of them. Each year, January 26th will forever be a pretty shitty day for me but I will spend the rest of the year honoring these heroes by continuing to improve myself as a Marine as well as a person. This Shakespearean quote from "Henry V" has always had a special meaning to me but after January 26,2005 it became words we lived by, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...for he who sheds his blood with me today, will always be my brother..." Semper Fi my brothers...thank you.
Hi, I am Jesse's aunt in Buffalo NY (Vicki's sister). This updated site is wonderful! We miss Jesse so much but this is a reminder of the impact his life made on those around him. Thank you Matthew and friends for putting this together. I am thankful to have a place to direct the many folks who just want to know more about Jesse and his faith in Jesus!