Family of Late, Nebraska-Born Sergeant Jessica Jackson to be Presented a Flag During Football Game
By Aaron Bonderson , Report for America Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
Sept. 10, 2021, 5 p.m. ·
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At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln football game Saturday, there will be a flag presentation on the field during the first quarter.
One of the families receiving a flag will be the family of Jessica Jackson-Barnett, who passed away in 2014 shortly after her time in Afghanistan. Jackson was assigned to disable enemy explosives, and she completed hundreds of missions, disarming thousands of bombs.
On one mission, Jackson and others were rescued when their Humvee exploded. She recovered and was assigned to a few military police roles, receiving many awards. Jessica lost her fight against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following her time in Afghanistan.
Jim Jackson is Jessica’s father and said the memorial ceremony honors more than his daughter.
“For me, it’s honoring all of those families, survivors, and people that have sacrificed,” he said.
Jackson said he’ll surely remember the ceremony and it means more because of the location.
“In a setting as special and powerful inside that stadium, ‘cause that stadium means so much to so many people,” he said.
The stadium holds a special meaning to the family, too. Jessica’s brother and Jim’s son, Justin, played football for the Huskers from 2008 - 2012.
Jim Jackson has worked for the university more than 20 years and said the school and its people were supportive during his loss.
Jackson said Jessica's goal in life was ‘every person matters.’
“She always made the most of every interaction that she had with people,” he said. “She was always positive, always smiled, had no fear and was always competing with her brother.”
Jessica Jackson was born in Lincoln in 1993 and went to Norris High School. She was 21 when she died.
Honor and Remember’s Nebraska chapter helped organize the flag presentation during Saturday’s Husker game against Buffalo.
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