Paragould Soldier's Memory Kept Alive by Virginia Youngster

AUGUST 11, 2006 - Posted at 8:01 a.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR - An 8-year-old boy in Amherst, Virginia, is keeping the memory of Staff Sergeant Kevin P. Jessen of Paragould alive every day with a memorial flag.

Jessen died on March 5, in Rawah, Iraq, while serving his country.

On July 4 in Lynchburg, Virginia, a ceremony was held to honor the soldiers who had lost their lives in Iraq.  More than 2,400 flags were erected in a field, one flag for every fallen soldier.

Tami Brooks said she and her very patriotic 8-year-old son, Zachary, attended the ceremony, and her son said afterward that they needed to adopt one of the flags.  She said that seeing all the flags put a human emotion to the war for her son.  Since they did not know anyone from Virginia who had lost their life in the war, they decidedly to randomly adopt a flag.

Now, Zachary puts the flag out every morning and takes it in every night when the sun goes down.  His mother said he consulted a boy scout manual for all the days when displaying the flag was especially appropriate, but he puts it out every day.  She said that, anytime he sees a storm cloud he runs outside and takes it down, and is very protective of the flag.

Zachary's mother said he told her he wants to be just like Jessen, and join the military.  She found a photograph of Jessen on the Internet so her son would know what the soldier looked like.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)