We got to the area where they were going to have the
service. Six marines unfolded the flag and held it over
Josh's urn. The chaplain gave a beautiful eulogy
describing the man Josh was. The 21-gun salute
proceded the eulogy. The flag was then folded back
up and as those Marines folded, it was amazing and
beautiful - so precise and without mistake. It was
presented to his wife, Adrianna, and we were also
presented a flag. After it was over, we visited three
Marines, including Michael Boucher who had come
from Bethesda, to pay their respects to their friend
and brother. It was an experience I will never forget.

Now that everything is over, I am starting the true
grieving process. Yesterday, Josh's personal items
arrived. In those things was his laptop. Hundreds of pictures was on it from his short time there, and to see
him in those pictures, in not one did he look sad, angry,
or anything but a Marine doing what he went there to do.

There was also his journal. One page was written the
day he arrived in Afghanistan. He said he saw nothing
but dirt and sky, talked about the others in his unit before
him who had lost limbs. The one thing he said that totally
broke my heart was that he would be okay with losing an
arm or a leg, but he couldn't bare the thought of his wife
and parents not having him around again.

This has forever changed our family and I pray that God will keep giving us the strength we need to get through this. We will never recover from this tragedy, but we will move on, one day at a time, and keep his memory forever alive.

I love you all,

Janice McDaniels
Proud Mother of LCpl Josh McDaniels,
Keeper of Heaven's Gate