Sunday, August 10, 2008

A HERO'S JOURNEY HOME

When Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy was getting ready to leave his parents’ Patchogue, NY home after celebrating Easter with them, his Mom Maureen and Dad Dan asked him to send a text message when he arrived at his base in Hawaii assuring them he got there safe. Maureen and Dan didn’t hear anything for two days so they got worried, especially since Michael often went on dangerous missions in his work as a NAVY SEAL. They called him and discovered he had sent the text but it must not have gone through because of a technical glitch. Dan and Maureen Murphy breathed a sigh of relief, but also learned their son would be deploying on a new mission shortly.

Unfortunately, that mission was Michael’s last.

A few months later, on June 28, 2005, Lt. Michael Murphy was killed in Afghanistan during a fierce gunfight with the Taliban. He died a hero trying to save his men and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Lt. Michael Murphy’s body was recovered on July 4th and soonafter returned to the United States. Though his parents were devastated, they relied on their faith to get them through.

During an interview on the radio program “Personally Speaking,” Dan Murphy tearfully recalled the experience of the return of his son’s body - “The Navy and everyone was there, they had a beautiful ceremony. But…for anyone who may question faith, let me just tell you what happened. Maureen and I were sitting on the tarmac waiting and they brought Michael out on a scissor lift…As it touched the ground, there was a peace and a calm that came over Maureen and I, almost like Michael walked up to us and said, ‘Everything’s okay. I’m fine.’ Maureen and I looked at each other and we both felt the same thing. The chaplain that was there with us said, ‘Is everything okay?’ We told him, ‘We have this peacefulness that came over us almost like Michael walked up to us.’ He said that’s not uncommon for families that come to meet their loved ones when they’re returned - which was just amazing!”

On July 13th, the day of Michael’s funeral, the Murphys would receive one more bit of comfort that they view through the eyes of faith. Maureen’s cell phone rang. When she looked at it, she saw it was a text message. Not just any text message but the one Michael had sent 4 months earlier.

It read simply, “Mama, home safe and sound.”

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