JOSHUA MCDANIELS - FALLEN HERO
 
Two days later, our casualty officer called and said he had Josh's remains and asked if it would be okay to bring him home. YES!! Josh would finally be home. We were so blessed to be able to keep him for 29 days. He sat on our dressers for 28 of those days.  One night Jacob wanted to sleep with him. He came into our room and asked if we minded if Josh stayed with him that night. I said, "Not at all, I was wondering when you were going to ask."

The night before we left for Arlington, I had my first dream about Josh. I looked out my bedroom window and Josh was on our walkway in his tan cammies - the ones he had on the last time I saw him alive. I yelled, "Josh, your home!! Josh, it's you!!" I ran down the stairs and out the front door, wrapped my arms around him and said, "I don't want to let you go. I just want this to be a dream." He said to me, "Mom, you have to let me go; I have things I need to do." I woke up crying, it felt so real.

 

   
July 18 was the day we visited Michael Boucher and Cody Elliot - two brave young men that were in Josh's unit 
who were also injured the day Josh was.  It was a very bitter sweet.

After talking with Michael, I knew God had put him and Josh together for a reason.They were like two peas in a
pod - right down to their big blue eyes. I found myself just staring at his eyes. Michael had lost both his legs and
had some internal damage. His spirits were high and he said when he feels like giving up, he hears Josh pushing
him and it gets him through.

We found out from Michael's parent about Cody. He had been right behind Josh, on the other side when Josh
stepped on an IED. He went to help Josh and steped on an IED himself. He was in pretty bad shape, and I couldn't
stop thinking about the reason why he was there...because he went to help my son. I let him know that if there was
anything he needed, we would always be there for him.

July 19 - the day Josh was to be laid to rest at Arlington Commentary along side all of his Hero brothers and
sisters. It was beautiful. We were first presented with his purple heart. That was very emotional. We then drove
to the site where Josh's final resting place would be. His urn was taken out of the car along with a folded flag -
the flag his casket had been draped with when he arrived in Dover. They placed it in a drawer in the back of a
casket and the flag placed along side it. The casket was on a carriage pulled by six horses. We all followed the
carriage,  It was a solom moment...silence, other than the horses' hoofs.

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