BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — ‘Portrait of a Warrior Gallery’ received a ceremonial sword belonging to a Kern Hero just days before what would have been his 51st birthday.
Jason George grew up in Bakersfield and Tehachapi. He served in the Army before he was killed overseas while he was serving his country in Iraq.
His ceremonial sword now joins his portrait in the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery where Kern heroes are memorialized.
Jason George, an alumni from Tehachapi Highschool in 1988, served in the United States Army. He joined the ranks in 1994 until he was killed in 2009 from a detonated explosive while he was serving in Iraq. Two other U.S. soldiers and over 25 Iraqi civilians were also killed in the bombing.
“This was gifted by his mother,” Russell Slover the Commander of FW Post 12114 in Tehachapi said during the ceremony. “His ceremony sword from West Point.. So on behalf of our post we proudly present this to you and to this lovely place, the ‘Portrait of a Warrior’.”
“The purpose of bringing the sword here is we’re honoring his life and we say the word life,” Slover said in an interview with 17 News. “A tree is alive but the life of Jason George was a life of all his friends, his high school, his study, and his comrades in arms. He was a very well liked person.”
“We proudly accept this sword and I know we will take great care of it for you,” Lili Marsh the founder of the ‘Portrait of a Warrior Gallery’ said during the ceremony.
George was a major in the Army. He had only been in the in Baghdad for about two weeks before the bombing. George was buried in Bakersfield National Cemetery.
“You want to honor the fallen but we can’t simply honor all of them which is the unfortunate thing but we can honor a few,” Slover said during the interview.
George liked to surf and that fondness is captured in his portrait for all to see.
“What’s beautiful about these portraits is yeah there’s portraits of them in a uniform but there’s also pictures of them in life,” Slover said in the interview. “Playing cricket, playing basketball, or getting married. I mean these were people with lives, they wanted to live their lives but because of their love for this country they lost their lives.”
You can visit the ‘Portrait of a Warrior Gallery’ in Downtown Bakersfield on Eye Street and 20th Street.
It’s open Tuesdays through Fridays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.