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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Marine's mom on crusade to light up all U.S. homes

Sunday, January 1, 2006

UNION CITY, Tenn. -- Bulbs and the electric candles they sit in have been replaced, but the light that shines from the front window of Opal and Danny Jones' Union City home has been a constant glow for four years.

In November 2001, when Jones' son served his first tour of overseas duty in Afghanistan, Jones placed an electrically-powered candle in the front window of her home as a reminder to pray for her son and other troops as well as their safe return to the United States.

"Support our kids. I don't support this war but our kids, and they're just doing what their commander-in-chief tells them to do. To me, that's honorable," said Jones, formerly of Sikeston, Mo.

Now Jones' son is serving in Iraq, and Jones is on a mission to have a candle burning in every window of every home in the United States.

"They're fighting for our freedom, and the least we can do is put a candle in our window and leave it there until they come home," Jones said.

Jones' son, Corporal James L. Jones, 25, is a member of the 22 Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"Not only am I doing this for him, but our National Guard Unit 913th (Engineer Co. based in Union City) is over there, and I have friends whose relatives are in the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky," Jones said. Jones is stopping at nothing to spread word about the campaign she launched a couple of months ago.

"I've e-mailed all my friends and family," Jones said.

Jones also put an article in the local newspaper, Union City Messenger, and church bulletin, Beulah Baptist Association.

She's even contacted Dr. Phil McGraw, Oprah Winfrey and first lady Laura Bush. Although none of them have replied back, Jones said she won't stop trying to get everyone to light a candle in their windows.

"There's nobody, I don't think, in the United States that hasn't been touched somehow or some way by this war -- either by a relative or close friend -- and that's why I wanted to get this started," Jones said.

Jones and her husband moved to Union City from Sikeston about 36 years ago, and both come from military families, she said.

"I truly feel in my heart and believe the prayers will bring my son home," Jones said. "And don't only pray for the boys over there, but pray for the families that have lost their boys and girls."

The battery-operated or electrically-powered candles can be purchased fairly cheap, Jones said.

"It doesn't burn that much electricity," Jones said.

Jones said when she looks at the candles, it symbolizes praying for the troops and the President.

"It (the candle) shows a great amount of support from the people. It lets those boys and girls know how much we appreciate what they're doing for us. If they weren't over there doing that, we wouldn't have the rights and freedoms we do," Jones said.

Now a candle burns at both the back and front windows of the Jones home. Jones noted she's even starting to see a ripple effect with some of her friends and family who are displaying the candles. So far candles are lit up in portions of Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri and the West Coast.

"Put that candle in there and keep it lit until the troops come home safe, and please, please pray for them and families who've lost loved ones," Jones said. Jones said her son could return home in six to nine months.

But until then -- and until every man and woman returns from serving in the war -- the candles will stay lit, and her crusade will continue.

"I'll be doing this till they come home," Jones said. "If they're not home, this candle will stay in the window."