JOSHUA MCDANIELS - FALLEN HERO
 

Our trip for Josh's graduation was the best!!!  Family Day
was on my birthday and we arrived at Parris Island around
5:30 am to witness his last morning PT and run with his
platoon. It was soooo hard to keep myself from not
running up to him.

We didn't get to actually "embrace" him 'till around 9:30
am when they released him. He ate ice cream for the first
time in 13 weeks and his expression was priceless. He
wouldn't even put it down for the pictures! Well, who
could blame him?!

It was 71 degrees that day, with beautiful skies. We had
to stay on base so he showed us around until about 3:00
pm when we had to say our goodbyes until the next
morning....that was hard. After we left him, we went back
to the hotel for some rest. Later we went to the ocean....
I have never been before. It was breathtaking.

Graduation day was amazing... seeing my Marine...the
man he had become... all proper and glowing with pride.

The ceremony lasted about an hour, then we were off -
he wanted to see the ocean as he had never been before
either. It was colder that day; a storm was heading
through the route we were taking, so we didn't stay long -
but long enough for him to go exploring as he has always
done since he was a little guy.... for some ocean
treasures.

We stopped for dinner and the pride was overflowing
when strangers came up to him, thanking him for what
he was doing. It brought tears to my eyes.

One thing you'll notice about your Marine, as I did, is
they eat really fast! We ended up going through a bad
snow storm through NC, and because they are never
prepared for that, none of the roads were plowed. We
ended up having to get a room at 3:00 am because we
were only able to drive about 20 mph due to zero visibility.

We safely made it home at 6:00 pm on Saturday. I was
exhausted!!!  It was the best time ever. Josh said boot
camp wasn't bad at all... except at night - the isolation.
He said boot camp got better as he made friends and
kept receiving the letters from home. Letters from home
helped a lot!!  Thanks for all that you have done and
continue to do, M.O.M.S. - all the prayers and
encouraging words.