My son Dan approached me
when he was 17 to enlist in the Army National
Guard. "Please sign the papers Mom. I really want
to do this." Thinking he was too young, I told
him to wait until he was 18. It would give him
another year to make sure that this was what he
really wanted to do.
next year came around, and Dan still wanted to
enlist. He thought it would be a great way to
earn college money and travel. There was just
beginning to be rumblings of a possible conflict
in Iraq, but it was only talk, so when my husband,
Jeff, took Dan to the recruiters office, little
did we dream what was ahead for all of us.
spent the summer and fall going to weekend "drills."
He seemed well suited for the discipline of military
life and was looking forward to his turn to go
through the experience of basic training. In January
of 2003 Dan left for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
It was hard to watch him leave but I thought those
six months would go by quickly and we would see
him again soon.
nervous about a possible war in Iraq, so Dan and
I talked about it just before he left. "Don't
worry about it Mom. If that is what is supposed
to happen in my life, then I am okay with it.
I knew this could be a possibility when I signed
up, and I am more than willing to do it to serve
time in Missouri was a difficult and challenging
time for him, as it is for any young man who has
just entered the armed forces, but he was doing
well with this experience in his life, so I relaxed
and decided maybe this was a good thing for him
to bed on an ordinary night, which was to prove
to be one of the most extraordinary experiences
of my life. Sometime during the night I had gotten
up, which was nothing out of the ordinary and
part of my usual habit. As I stepped my foot out
of the bed, I could make out the form of a man
standing peacefully at the foot of my bed. He
was dressed in green army fatigues and just stood
there not moving or saying anything. There was
a sense of calmness and serenity about him, but
I was startled to find a stranger standing in
my room in the middle of the night. Thinking it
might be a robber, I let out a piercing scream.
The man instantly disappeared into nothingness.
had not awakened my husband, and I let him sleep.
But the next morning I told him what had happened.
"Jeff, Dan is going to Iraq." I just had this
inner knowing that I couldn't explain.
do you know that?" he asked.
his guardian angel last night. I knew it was Dan's
because of the way he was dressed."
completed basic training in June of 2003. That
summer the war did indeed start, and my son and
nearly all of his regiment were activated. In
January 2004 they were sent to Iraq, just as I
had known by the visit of the angelic soldier
the year before.
weeks after Dan arrived in Iraq, he was out doing
a routine maneuverhe was the gunner on a
humvee, along with the driver and a passenger.
They ran over a roadside bomb. The vehicle was
blown up into the air and the others were killed,
but Dan walked away with minor shrapnel wounds.
one of the hardest years of my life. But when
fierce moments of doubt and worry came, as they
do to all mothers of soldiers in a war zone, I
held onto the angelic visit I had in the middle
of the night. It would bring a sense of peace
and calmness when nothing else could.
2005, Dan returned home safely from his tour of
duty in Iraq. He is newly married and in January
2006 he and his wife, Jenna, brought forth our
first granddaughter, Savannah Marie.
is so very precious and treasured now. Dan and
all of us truly grew through this experience.
I learned when we least it expect them and when
we need them the most, angelic messengers are
sent to help guide, reassure, protect and encourage