When I opened my mail from a favorite soldier, I never expected the letter of sorrow that I received. We've been corresponding for over three years - through one deployment and, now a second. Always up. Always positive. But, this letter was in memory of her friend, Josh, who lost his life in Iraq. It ended with, "He was my friend. I will never forget him. Remember, Josh." I will remember him. And, I hope you will, too.
Josh died doing what he loved to do - being a soldier. He was in Iraq on his second tour - one he volunteered for. While patrolling the streets of Baghdad, his HMMWV hit an IED.
Josh was from Jacksonville, Florida. He attended Forest High School, participated in JROTC and joined the Army at age 17. His family says he wanted to serve his country since he was a toddler. And, serve he did, for seven years and two deployments to Iraq. And, he loved being a Soldier.
"When he was little, he loved Top Gun. We went through three Top Gun tapes because he would constantly play it over and over. He would sit there and get his dad's motorcycle helmet and a plunger and pretend he was flying the plane," his mother said.
His father says his son “knew the risks. He didn't have to be in this unit. He wanted to be in this unit. He prided himself very much and we're proud of him."
They know that he died doing what he loved, fighting for a cause he believed in and because of that, they feel exactly as he did. "He told us 95% of the people appreciate us being there and he couldn't wait to go back to help them. Do we need to be there? My son died because of that. Yes we do."
Josh was accompanied home by his best friend and fellow soldier. A memorial service was held in Jacksonville. His burial took place in Arlington Cemetery.
I will remember Josh. I will remember the sorrow and the love and the pride in the letter I received from one of his friends. I am grateful to Josh for doing what he believed in, for serving our country, for helping a people gain their freedom. His family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers. Walk with God, Josh.
The Arlington Page
News and Video of Josh's Mother