The Fourth of July weekend had special patriotic poignancy for a Granville County man preparing for the next step in his service to his country.
2nd Lt. Jason Sexton, a graduate of West Point, was packing his bags for Fort Sill, Okla.
Jason has always shown promise, his mother Doreen Sexton said. “He just tried to learn everything he can and go the extra mile,” she said.
He played football and in the marching band. He became an Eagle Scout and served in Junior ROTC.
“I am his No. 1 fan," Doreen Sexton said.
Jason Sexton is the youngest of three children and the only boy. His oldest sister, Leslie, always prodded him to be his best, their mother said.
“She would brag: ‘My brother is going to be something. He is going some where. he's really smart,'” her mom recalled.
Three months before her high school graduation, Leslie Sexton was killed in a car crash. Jason was 14.
His parents came to him to hold the family together.
“We need you to be strong, to hold us together,” he says they told him.
Jason Sexton decided to honor his sister by living up to her image of him. He worked hard, studied and applied to the United State Military Academy.
In his application, he wrote of his devotion to Leslie. “I made her a promise that I would settle for nothing than the best ... I will not let her down,” he wrote.
His acceptance at West Point is a major accomplishment. Jason is the first in his family to graduate beyond high school.
Doreen Sexton saved the letters of congratulations he received from Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University basketball coach, and former presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.
Jason Sexton attributes his success to his humble upbringing in rural Granville County.
“Growing up, we didn't have much. I had my family and I had my community and that's all we needed to get by,” he said.
With his military training comes an added layer of community.
“Now that I'm in the service, I'm defending that red white and blue,” he said. “It's for my mom, my dad, my sister, my friends. I'm not trying to fight a war, I'm trying to protect what's mine, and what's mine is part of a state, part of a country, and part of a dream, part of an ideal. I'm looking forward to putting on a uniform and doing what I can for this country.”
When Jason Sexton finishes his training in Oklahoma, he will be stationed at Fort Bragg.