Sunday, May 27, 2018

Remembering Jimmie Lee Beckstrand This Memorial Day

Remembering Jimmie Lee Beckstrand This Memorial Day
The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is an American tradition like no other, and this year's race will feature the 600 Miles of Remembrance with each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver displaying the name of a fallen servicemember on the windshield.

This is the perfect opportunity for fans to reflect upon those who've made the ultimate sacrifice for the country before cheering on their favorite drivers in the race, set for 6 p.m. ET on FOX.

This is also the perfect opportunity for NASCAR Race Mom to remember her ‘Hometown Hero.’

Army Spc. James L. Beckstrand, 27, Escondido

Jimmy Lee Beckstrand was an audacious preteen in the late eighties, a year younger than my oldest son Moses and a year older than my youngest Zachariah. I remember the laughter as the three bounded through the doors looking for a drink of water after playing outside in the cul-de-sac for as long as they could under the warm California sun.

Remembering Jimmie Lee Beckstrand This Memorial DayI have to laugh as I recall the night Jimmy and Zack spent the night in a makeshift tent they had pitched in our backyard grass. My husband Paul waited till after midnight and after their giggly noise faded to creep outside and pretend to be a bear to scare them. I chuckled as they both screamed!

After high school, the three childhood chums set out to make their mark in the world in their own unique way. A few years later, I spotted Jimmy walking uphill towards his father’s house, dressed in his uniform. As I ran outside to say “hi,” I could not contain my awe and surprise. Jimmy Lee looked great and held himself with extreme confidence. I joked that his beloved roller blades would not be an acceptable fashion accessory for his current look.

That was the last time I spoke to Army Spc. James "Jimmy" Beckstrand. On April 29, 2004, during a four-month extension of duty, Jimmy and seven other soldiers from his unit, the 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division out of Baumholder, Germany, were killed when their convoy was attacked and a car bomb exploded near them. Jimmy Lee was just twenty-seven years old and a newlywed. He earned a Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action, and a Bronze Star medal for meritorious service and for his ultimate sacrifice.

As NRM enjoys today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, longest race on the circuit, I will remember and appreciate my hometown hero-James Lee Beckstrand, who sacrificed all to keep my America Great.

Jimmie Lee’s name might not be featured on a #MENCS car but will be burned into my heart forever.

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