JOSHUA MCDANIELS - FALLEN HERO
 
It was around 11:30 PM when we arrived on base and there was the Boeing 747 that had brought Josh and 
three other heroes home.  He was the third dignified
transfer. My heart was breaking.

I didn't sleep much that night....I don't think any of us did.

The next morning we had to make alot of decissions
concerning his funeral and final resting place. We
wanted to have him brought home for a service and at
that time they didn't know if he would be "showable" or
not. That was the hardest thing to hear. Although he
didn't have any facial damage, he had lost everything
from the waist down.

We decided he would return in a casket, and after the
services, we would have him cremated as this was his
wish.

We were leaving Dover around 1:30 PM that afternoon
and the sky started to get dark....a storm was blowing in.
About ten minutes into the drive I was looking up at the
sky and the storm was passing.  We were driving into a
beautiful blue sky with big, fluffy white clouds. I was telling
Josh how much I loved him and how so proud I was of
him, and in that moment, as the clouds were moving, a
single cloud went up and formed a perfect heart and
on the left side I saw Josh's face so clear, it was as if he
was right in front of me....and you know, he was. He was
telling me, Hey mom,  I'm ok I'm on my way to heaven.

From that moment, I felt a sense of peace. My husband,
on the other hand, wasn't doing so well. We get to the
airport in Philadelphia and soon after we had to call an
ambulance because we thought he was having a heart
attack. They came and checked him out but didn't find
anything serious.... BP was fine, heart rate was good.
They said that with our situation it was more likely stress.

We get home and tried to be as "normal" as we could for
Jacob and Brittany. Everything was happening so fast,
I felt I couldn't breathe sometimes. We started making
plans for his service. We decided to have it at his high
school where he had been captain of both his football
and wrestling teams. He would want that.

We got the call that evening, Tuesday, that he would be
showable with only the top part of the casket opened.
Thank You Jesus; my prayers were answered. I don't
know what I would have done if I couldn't see him one
last time.