Welcome

The family and friends of Cpl. Daniel C. W. Riley, USMC, welcome you to join in as we celebrate and support the life of an incredible young man, friend, son, and brother. It is with great love and with many prayers we know that Daniel will move on to great and wonderful things. God has big plans for him! Daniel was born in Victoria, BC, Canada. In 1999 his family (Dad, Mum, brothers Tristan and Aaron, & sister Elizabeth, & cat) moved to Denver, Colorado, where his dad began working for the Episcopal Church in Colorado overseeing work with children, youth, and young adults. Daniel started high school in 1999 at Columbine High School. After three years at CHS he finished his high school at Brentwood College in Canada in 2004. After which he did some college and worked in the US and Canada. Daniel enlisted (still a Canadian citizen) in US Marine Corps in 2008 to serve his new country and to help pay for a future college education. On July 4, 2009 Daniel swore in as a US citizen before the Vice-President in Sadam Hussein's old palace in Bagdad, Iraq. In September 2010 he was sent as a combat replacement for the 2/6 Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan. On December 16, 2010, Daniel was severely wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). He primarily suffered severe wounds to his legs, left arm, and left lung. There were many times he was close to not making it. He has since had both legs amputated above the knee and three fingers amputated on his left hand. His lung and other injuries are healing well. Before this event and for many years to come, we know Daniel to be a loving, caring, intellegent, humourous, giving, adventurous, and deep thinking person. Keep praying! And use this blog to share your thoughts and encouragement.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Time Photos

Since the reference in the 9News interview - http://danielcwriley.blogspot.com/2011/05/9-news.html - many have asked about the pictures that were taken of Daniel on the day he was injured.  After much discussion Daniel has said to "go ahead and post them".  (Note - these are hard to look at.  We offer them only as a way to "make whole" the story and help all to appreciate the fullness of this journey.)

A little backstory.  After a while in the hospital Daniel shared that he recalled that a photographer of some kind was on the helicopter with him as he was being medevac'd after the explosion.  We had tried to find out who the photographer was, or who he was with, from Daniel's unit NCO's, but were unsuccessful.  In February we got a call from a family friend who said that he thinks that Daniel's photo was in Time Magazine.

In December 2009 a woman was visiting a friend and was at a Christmas Eve church service in Vail, Colorado.  Our family was also there and Daniel was in his "dress-blues" uniform.  The woman met Daniel then for the first, and last, time.  Just over a year later this woman is at her home in New York and was reading a Time Magazine.  In it was a photo-article entitled "Wings of Mercy: Medevac in Afghanistan" (January 17, 2011) by the world famous photographer James Nachtwey.  She was interested in reading it because she had heard about Daniel's situation.  She turned to the page and there was a two-page spread photograph of Daniel.  She had only ever seen Daniel once in her life and she recognized him as the young marine she met over a year ago in Colorado.  She told her friend in Vail (and mailed the article). Her friend told our family friend and the information got to us.

Using an iPhone to search the internet we found the photo.  Even on the small screen, we could see that it was Daniel.  It was, however, the most horrific picture I have ever seen in my life.  It was not due to the graphic nature of it - it really isn't that bad.  It was just shocking to my core to see my son laying there only moments after the explosion.  It was the eyes that captured me.  I saw in that picture the eyes of my little boy.  Not hurting. Not struggling. Just eyes that said that he was scared and confused.  It broke my heart. It still does every time I see it - or even think about it.

Later reports filled in that he was still very much struggling for his life.  He "crashed" just before the helicopter arrived and again at the hospital. There are three very real gifts of God when I see the picture. One, that he lived! Two, the miracle that a woman who saw Daniel only once, recognised him in the article and was willing to share that. (We are very thankful to her for that!). Three, that even the though he picture indicates something different, Daniel recalls "calm".  He does not remember panic, pain, or fear ..... just calm.  I cannot explain it other than that the Lord God was with him at the very worst moment in his life.  I trust God will continue to be with him through the rest of the journey.

We share the picture with you today.  We have tried many times and in many ways to contact Time Magazine and the photographer. But, we have been unsuccessful.  We would love to get better quality versions of it and Daniel would love to see other pictures of that day.

The first pictures shows Daniel being carried to the helicopter by members of his unit and the medievac team.  The second shows him moments later being attended to as the flew him to the field hospital.  Both were two-page spreads in the magazine.

From the article:
"Another snapshot from hell, another dusty field. This time it's a Marine being carried on a litter--a young man, both his legs gone, blown off by an IED, the signature weapon of the war. The flight medic works with fierce concentration while the crew chief talks to the Marine, keeping him from passing out so he can help fight for his life as he toughs out the pain."
 
Caption (photo 2): 
"Life Struggle. The injured Marine is treated by crew members. He survived the IED blast but lost both of his legs."

- Dad



You can find the full article at: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2040942,00.html
also http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2041191,00.html

3 comments:

  1. So hard to see, but thank you for sharing it with us. My nephew is doing better each day, and I continue to pray for Daniel as I pray for Jordan too.
    Blessings,
    Marcia

    ReplyDelete
  2. Neil,

    I think of this story daily. My heart and thoughts are with your family. The picture just makes my heart sink. I am very grateful that Daniel is still with us. He is a true hero.

    - Chuck Tate

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is very hard to look at but a good reminder of how very far Daniel has come and how God's grace was with him all of the way.
    God Bless,
    Diane Grisdale

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.