Remembering a Fallen Hero from Powder Springs
Jacob Dennis was just 22 years old when he died right before the Fourth of July last year while serving in Afghanistan.
The Fourth of July. For me, it has always meant going to the Marietta parade, eating barbecue and homemade ice cream with friends, visiting the swimming pool to cool off, and going to see fireworks for at least two nights in a row.
Last year was different. I woke up on the Fourth to read an email that said a young man who I had known for years had died the day before from injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan.
How could this be? Jacob Dennis, who lived in Powder Springs and graduated from North Cobb Christian, was just 22 years old. He had been on active duty for only six months and had just been married slightly more than a year. How could he now be gone from his loving family, whom I have known since he was a toddler?
Emotions began flooding my heart and mind—sadness, anger, compassion, pride, patriotism. They were all were there to follow me as I went through the motions of the Fourth of July 2010.
The Fourth fell on a Sunday last year. Our church service was a huge patriotic extravaganza of music, flag-waving, and a tribute to our armed services. Jacob Dennis used to run down the halls of that church as a child, and I thought of him as a fallen soldier as men in military uniforms from all branches marched to the stage and saluted.
I left the service with great pride and great sadness. Those feelings continued as Jacob’s body was flown back to Georgia to his family.
We lifted them up in prayer minute by minute as details were set into motion to honor him in a military service in Cobb County. We prayed as his bride, a widow at such a young age, traveled from Washington state, where she was anxiously awaiting her husband’s return in just six months to start their new life together.
The service was a tribute to Jacob and his sacrifice for our freedom. Medals and flags were awarded in his honor. A slide show flashed images of his childhood, his military career and his wedding day. Sadness yet great pride followed me out of that place.
I know I’ll see Jacob Dennis again someday, because I know the same Savior he knows. But the question, “Why?” that I still ask today doesn’t come with an answer.
I do know, though, that same Savior will give comfort and a “peace that passes understanding” to his family this year on July 4 and in the years to come.
Yes, this Fourth of July will be different for me. I will never again look at the American flag the same. I will never again take the words “Sweet land of liberty” for granted.
My life has been changed by one young man from Powder Springs. Thank you, Jacob Dennis. You and others who have died for our freedom are American heroes.
Thank you for paying the price for my freedom so I can write these words.
Continue Reading: Community Honors Fallen Soldier