On Tuesday, former Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch testified in Washington, D.C., about the real story of her capture and rescue while serving in Iraq in 2003.
She spoke before the House Government Reform Committee along with the family of fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
Tillman, a former professional football player who joined the Army Rangers after Sept. 11, was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. At first the military said he was killed by enemy fire and even posthumously awarded him the Silver Star.
Lynch was badly injured when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq in 2003. She was later rescued by American troops from an Iraqi hospital, but the tale of her ambush was changed into a story of heroism on her part.
"It meant a lot, really, it did, especially to come out for the Tillman family," Lynch told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "They really need answers. And, you know, they have tons and tons of questions that are just unanswered. And they need that."
At the hearing, the chairman of the House panel, Henry Waxman, accused the government of inventing "sensational details and stories" about Tillman's death and Lynch rescue. After she arrived home, Lynch set the record straight in a book called "I Am a Soldier, Too."
"At first I didn't even realize … the stories that were being told," she said. "It was quite a while afterwards, and then I found out. It was a little disappointing. And I knew that I had to get the truth out there because, one, I wouldn't be able to live with myself ... knowing that these stories were portraying me to do something that I didn't."
Although Lynch was injured severely, she didn't suffer any gunshots wounds. Still, recovery is a long process and she said the healing is slow.
Lynch, whose brother also serves in the Army, isn't sure why the stories were made up because her capture occurred so early in the war. But she was the first POW rescue since World War II, which was big news. She wants America to understand that the real heroes were those who died in the fight and those who risked everything to save her.
"Definitely my friend Laurie, for trying to get us to safety," Lynch said. "But, you know, she was killed in combat so — but the ones who came in and rescued me, the ones who were in my unit fighting to death, you know, those are my real heroes."
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