The mother of six-year-old Christian Jacobs, the boy who shared a hug with President Donald J. Trump, told RedState she and her son still remember with fondness that 2017 Memorial Day at her fallen Marine husband’s Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, gravesite.

Advertisement

“It was very sincere,” said Brittany Jacobs, whose husband Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs was killed during an Oct. 24, 2011, premobilization training event at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, also known as 29 Palms, because it is in Twentynine Palms, California. 

Jacobs said Trump was taken in by her son. 

“Trump came to him with a sincerity, caring, genuine, heartfelt,” she said. “He hugged him the next time we saw him.”

The professional photographer said she had no idea they would encounter Trump that Memorial Day.

“Every year when we go there and you’re at that area, you don’t know who’s going to come through there,” she said. 

“They had cleared out a path, and when he came through, Christian went to walk up–obviously I stayed back–and he walked up to the president and asked him: ‘Do you want to meet my Daddy?’” she said. 

“President Trump followed him, and Christian went straight to the headstone,” Jacobs said. 

As Trump looked along, her son, wearing Marine dress blues with the sergeant stripes with a white combination cover and white dress gloves, showed the president photos his mother had brought to the gravesite, she said. 

“He was showing him pictures from our wedding, and he told him: ‘This is the one where they threw rice on my Mom and Daddy,’” she said. 

“I would always bring pictures and stuff, and we would sit there and just talk about memories and stuff like that. I would do that with him,” Jacobs said. “He kind of just shared some of the memories with the president.”

Advertisement

At one point, the widow said she remembers Trump asking her: “What do you think your husband would think of this?”

She said she thinks about Trump’s question. “It would’ve meant a lot to him that he was honored in a way and remembered by the President and that his son was getting to experience that as well in remembering his dad and his legacy.” 

A week later, Jacobs said she and her son were invited to Trump’s speech at the June 8, 2017, Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference, where Christian, in his Marine dress blues, led the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I first met Christian last week, after the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where we honor and remember the American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Trump said. 

The president went on:

Christian was in perfect Marine dress blues, as a tribute to his dad –- his beautiful dad, and he walked right up to me, in a big crowd of people, and without hesitation, he asked if I would like to come see where his Daddy is resting.  

Next, he led me over to where Marine Sergeant Christopher Jacobs lies among his brothers-and-sisters-in arms, in Section 60, and showed me pictures of his fallen father who was so great and so important to him.

Not only does young Christian carry those photos, but he carries his father’s love in his heart, and his courage in his beautiful, beaming young face. With his mom, Brittany, by his side — terrific mother — I said: ‘Is your mother good or is she great?’ He said: ‘She’s great.’ I said, you better say that. 

He looked me square in the eyes and gave me a firm handshake.

That six-year-old stood strong and tall and proud in front of the Commander-in-Chief, just as I am sure his dad would have wanted him to be. He’s extraordinary.

Advertisement

Another time, Jacobs said she and her son were invited to the White House for a July 4 event, and when the president saw Christian, he called out to the First Lady: “Hey, Melania, look, there’s my buddy,’ and he got people to make way so Christian could come up front and then he’s like: ‘Where’s your mother?'”

In his 2018 Memorial Day speech, he also paid tribute to the Jacobs family, she said.

Trump recalled to the audience how he met Christian and told them: “I’ve never seen a Marine look that good in my life, Christian.”

Jacobs: My son is like his father in looks, boldness

Jacobs said not only does her son bear a striking resemblance to her late husband, but his boldness to approach Trump was also in the spirit of his father, an 11-year veteran with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Genetics, man, my friends say genetics is a powerful thing because that child–it’s crazy,” she said. 

“There are things that Chris did and the way he would say things and expressions that I have forgotten over the years, and Christian will look at me and do it, and I’m like: ‘That is your father through and through,’” she said.

“My husband always said: ‘Go big or go home,’” she said. “So, his son decided to meet the president of the United States—I thought it was kind of cool.”

Now 13, Christian has grown up knowing that Trump is his friend.

“People come up to him at our hometown and they’d be like: ‘So, how was it meeting the president?’ He goes: ‘He’s my buddy to him,’–he didn’t understand–he was so little at the time–he just knew that there was this really nice person who listened to him talk about his Daddy—he had no idea that he was like the leader of the United States—he had no idea, so that was kind of precious too,” she said.

Advertisement

Husband’s last text: ‘Sweet dreams and I love you guys’

Jacobs said her husband was a close-quarters combat master instructor, and she met him when he was assigned to the Northwest Annex at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Virginia. 

“He worked in our local town where I live,” she said. “He worked there on the weekends at a restaurant-slash-bar bouncing. A lot of Marines did that he worked with, and I met him there and we were like two peas in a pod after that.”

The widow said she married her best friend when she married her husband.

At the time of the accident, they had been married for just under three years, and their son was eight months old, she said.

“Chris wanted a baby so bad,” she said.

“I wanted to wait until we came home until he got out of the military. He didn’t have much longer left,” he said. “I wanted to wait so I could have the pregnancy and the family be there for the birth because we were going to move back to the East Coast to Carolina, and he didn’t want to wait.”

Her husband was determined, Jacobs said.

“He looked at me, says: ‘You’re going to make me be four years old[er] before I’m a dad?’ So, I didn’t—I’m so thankful that God knew what he was doing because if I had waited and done what my first instinct was: ‘I wouldn’t have Christian, and I wouldn’t have Chris.’”

Through it all, Christian has carried her emotionally, she said.

“That little boy was my rock,” she said. “He was exactly what I needed. I’m glad that Chris was able to experience being a father before he passed, even though it was brief, and I’m glad that I have Christian to carry on his dad’s name and all the memories and get to share it with him and yeah, it’s special.”

Jacobs said when her husband died, she was working on schoolwork for college classes, and her brother’s girlfriend was watching her son. 

Advertisement

“I never in a million years prior would’ve thought a field op would ever be something to take him from us,” she said.

“You think about when they go to deploy that it’s a possibility, but previously, I never once even thought it,” she said. 

“You would think if they went overseas on a deployment, then I think my head would’ve went there,” Jacobs said. “People just don’t understand how dangerous training can be.”

The Marine widow said her husband texted her roughly an hour before he was killed.

“Our last text to each other was: ‘Sweet dreams,’ she said.

“He said: ‘Sweet dreams and I love you guys,” she said.

“I responded back: ‘I love you too, baby,’ and that was our last correspondence. They didn’t get good service out in the field, and it was raining, and it was nasty. That following morning, I woke up, and I left actually a message on his voicemail of our baby cooing—I didn’t know at the time that the night prior he had been killed.”

When the photographer got the news, it started with her phone going off.

“I got a phone call, and it didn’t click to me at first, but it was–I don’t remember the rank–but it was a high-ranking officer called me and wanting to meet me and talk to me and it didn’t click at that point,” she said.

“The second time they called me, the bell went off because I remember my husband told me, he said: ‘They’ll never come see you unless you’re dead.’”

Her husband told her that if he was hurt or in the hospital, they would call. “If you’re dead, that’s when they’re going to come see you.”

Jacobs said she scrambled to get herself together, and on the second call, she demanded that the officer confirm to her that her husband was alright, but he would not do that; he insisted on meeting with her.

“I knew at that point, and I remember just telling people around me: ‘Please pray for me. Please pray for me.’ I was in the middle of a Wendy’s using their Wi-Fi, and I called my brother’s girlfriend to come pick me up,” she said.

Advertisement

“I told them to meet me at my brother’s house. I didn’t want to be alone,” she said. 

“They came. It was an older officer and a younger staff sergeant, and told me that he was killed in an amphibious assault vehicle accident the night prior,” she said. 

“You don’t process anything. You can’t process anything. I was an emotional disaster. It is still hard not to get by,” she said.

Every Memorial Day 

Jacobs said every previous Memorial Day since her husband’s death, the two of them have made the trek to Arlington, but there is always a trauma associated with it. 

“You get nervous,” she said. 

“I always raised Christian to know about his father,” she said. 

“I thought my child was going to feel the exact same pain that I felt, and I wanted to protect him and make it soften it as much as I could,” she said. “I always thought that me telling him about his dad from an early age and him knowing from an early age, because obviously I wanted him to know about his dad because I loved him and I know he would want that as well.”

Unfortunately, she said someone else, who meant well, took it upon themselves to tell Christian what happened to his father before Jacobs could choose the time and setting for her own conversation with her son about it.

In the scheme of things, she said no damage was done.

“When he was really little, he’s cried before, and I would tell him Jesus needed your Daddy, and I remember him one time crying and saying: ‘No, but I need my daddy here,’ that was when he was really little. He was probably 3 or 4 saying those things—he was tiny.”

Advertisement

Now that Christian is 13, he is doing well, she said. 

“He’s never known no different,” Jacobs said.

“I’m so glad that Christian’s not crying all the time over it, but it’s his normal; he’s never known any different,” she said. 

“He loves talking to people about his dad and telling them about him, and he loves to hear that he looks like his father—he hears that almost every day of his life from people.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was edited post-publication to reflect the correct name of the base where Christian Jacobs was killed, as well as the Marine’s first name; the correct name is Twentynine Palms, and his name was Christopher. We regret the errors.)