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