Joseph Mangus

My friend Joe, who arrived home from Iraq last week, is dead.
He was found by his mother on monday evening, dead in his basement. I have not yet heard the results of the autopsy report, all I know is that my friend, our adopted uncle has moved on to the next life.
These past few hours since we heard of Joe’s Death have been a whirlwind of emotion.
Last sunday he came walking into church with his mom Ruth, who is a dear friend, and his siblings and nephew. He looked so happy, and just gave me this grin when he noticed me up on the stand. I lead the singing in sacrament meeting.
For some strange reason, I had taken my digital camera to church on sunday, just grabbed it as we walked out the door. I took picture of the beautiful flowers on the stand, but when I saw Joe walk in, I decided to get some footage of our reunion.
Benjamin, our four year old, has had a year of praying for Joe. Almost every time I heard him pray, for family prayer, his evening prayers, and even our blessings on the food, he has prayed for Joe, that Heavenly Father would keep him “safe and strong”.
I snapped the above picture of Joe and Ben at church right after the sacrament program, and made a little movie clip of Ben seeing Joe for the first time.

We had invited Joe to come over for family home evening on monday night at six O’clock.
I cooked a wonderful supper, and the boys went out to the front sidewalk and using chalk wrote “welcome home Joe” on the cement. We waited and waited for him to show up, but he never arrived.
The next morning Paul and I took the boys and our dog for a walk to the park, and when we arrived home he checked his email. I was out in the kitchen making lunch, and he started to cry and yell “no, no”. I ran over and read the email from our Bishop informing us that Joe was dead, found by his mom Ruth late monday evening.
I feel such a jumble of emotions.
Ben kept saying….”who is dead mom? Is it our Joe, Our JOE??!??”
I had lovely concern showed to our family by my visiting teachers and a member of our relief society. But my biggest concern is for Joes brother and sisters, and his mother Ruth. I love her so much, she has really mothered me these past few months, and I feel such a connection to her and ache for the loss of Joe, her oldest son.
Here are some blog entries that mentioned Joe’s service and how excited he was to come home. That to me is the biggest irony of all. We prayed him home safe, and now he is gone.
An Eagle is on his way home….email from Joe Mangus
Denver Anti War Rally March 17th Noon at the Capitol
Military Cut Backs
Pictures from Joe Mangus in Iraq
Press Conference by the President
Iraq: Three year Anniversary of the War
God be with you till me meet again Joe!
Jenny Hatch

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