By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
NEW SITE – On the day that would have been his 39th birthday, the service and sacrifice of Marine Sgt. Jonathan W. Lambert was permanently memorialized Friday in ceremonies to rename a segment of Mississippi Highway 4 East in his honor.
Born Sept. 13, 1974, Lambert died June 1, 2003, after suffering critical injuries from an IED in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In ceremonies that included family members, public officials, friends and New Site High School students assembled in the school gym, the tone was thankful and sacred. The memories of Sept. 11, 2001, victims and families were honored and the sacrifices of men and women in service – military, law enforcement, fire and first responders – acknowledged and appreciated.
Jonathan Lambert’s mother, Becky Lambert, and his 12-year-old daughter, Kinsey Jade Lambert, brought sentiments on behalf of the family.
Becky Lambert read from Jonathan Lambert’s own words in a letter he wrote home from the front lines of combat.
“It takes people dedicated to protect this nation,” he wrote. “I have respect for all services, law enforcement and especially the firemen. We know that this is more than a job, we do it for our children, grandchildren, friends and family. To make sure that their future will be protected as ours is today. So I say thanks to everyone who supports us. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We are one family here as we are back home.”
After reading the poem “The Broken Chain,” Kinsey Jade said, “Thank you for honoring my daddy with this memorial dedication.”
Childhood friend and first cousin, Judge Trenton Brown III of Monticello, Ga., fondly recalled adventures and misadventures he shared with Jonathan Lambert during summers in New Site as they grew into young adulthood, with each achieving the Eagle Scout rank.
When Jonathan Lambert went off to Marine boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., Brown said, he was still the eager young recruit looking to make a difference in the world. The first time he saw him after boot camp, Brown described Jonathan Lambert as “the embodiment of a proud Marine.” Brown quoted General Robert E. Lee as saying duty is the most sublime word in our language.
“Jonathan knew his duty,” Brown said.
Public officials included Mississippi Sen. J.P Wilemon, state Rep. Tracy Arnold and Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert who took parts in the ceremonies, having played key roles in passing Senate Bill 2448 to designate a section of Highway 4 as the “Sergeant Jonathan W. Lambert, U.S.M.C. Memorial Highway.”
“’Semper Fidelis,’ always faithful, is the Marine Corps motto,” Tagert said. “Jonathan Lambert always will be.”