Pfc. Jessica Lynch was only 19 when she became the most famous POW in the Iraq War. A former Miss Congeniality from the rural hinterland of West Virginia, in March 2003 she was ambushed while crossing the Iraqi desert with the U.S. Army’s 507th Maintenance Company. Four soldiers died in the attack, but Lynch was taken prisoner and held for nine days before being rescued by an elite American Special Forces unit. The rescue was captured on night-vision videotape. A heart-pounding drama, it was everywhere on TV. Lynch’s injuries were brutal; her right arm, left leg, and right foot were crushed. We were told the story of a hero, an impossibly courageous soldier “fighting to the death.” As intended, it emboldened a country deeply divided about the conflict itself. Then Jessica Lynch stepped forward. She told me she had not fired a single round because her weapon was jammed. Instead of “going down fighting,” she said, she “went down praying to her knees.” Her heroes, she added, were the soldiers who remained in Iraq, who died that day, and who rescued her. “I was just there in that spot,” she said, “the wrong place, the wrong time.” She could have said nothing. No one would have known. “That’s not how I am,” she said. In that moment, Jessica Lynch, now a mom working toward a degree in elementary education, reminded us that sometimes quiet humility is also an act of courage. Honoring others, too, is an act of valor. Sometimes, the simple integrity of a girl from West Virginia makes you proud to be American.