This story arrived in my inbox this morning via The Email List That Shall Not Be Named. I’ve never heard it before, but it’s all over the Internet. It somehow seems to be an appropriate story for this time of year.
St. Michael’s Apparition to a Marine
What follows is a well-known copy of a letter that
was written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after
being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy
Chaplain, who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in
The Navy Chaplain had talked to the boy, to the
boy’s mother and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This Navy Chaplain,
Father Walter Muldy, would always assure anyone who asked that this is a true
This letter had been read once a year in the 1960s
at a Midwestern radio station at Christmas time. Since many of U.S. troops now
are engaged in the Middle East, we include this remarkable story in the hope that
many servicemen and their families will invoke the intercession and protection
of Saint Michael. We present the letter and let it stand on its own merits.
I wouldn’t dare write this letter to anyone but
you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but
I have got to tell somebody.
First off, I am in a hospital. Now don’t worry, ya
hear me, don’t worry. I was wounded but I am okay you understand.. Okay. The doctor
says that I will be up and around in a month.
But that is not what I want to tell you.
Remember when I joined the Marines last year;
remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day.
You really didn’t have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always
told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well
I always have.
When I got to Korea, I prayed—–even harder.
Remember the prayer that you taught me?
“Michael, Michael of the morning fresh corps of
Heaven adorning,” you know the rest of it. Well I said it every day.. Sometimes
when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep.. I
even got some of the other fellas to say it.
Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up
over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in
the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.
I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when
along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than
any other Marine I’d ever seen. He must have been 6-4 and built in proportion.
It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.
Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of
the patrol spread out. Just to start a conversation I said, “Cold ain’t it.”
And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute
and I am talking about the weather.
My companion seemed to understand. I heard him
laugh softly; I looked at him, “I have never seen you before, I thought I knew
every man in the outfit.”
“I just joined at the last minute”, he replied.
“The name is Michael.”
“Is that so,” I said surprised. “That is my name
“I know,” he said and then went on, “Michael,
Michael of the morning . . .”
I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How
did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to
myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn’t I taught the prayer to
anybody who would listen? Why now and then, they even referred to me as St.
Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke
the silence. “We are going to have some trouble up ahead.” He must have been in
fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly I couldn’t see his breath.
Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble
ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no
Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a
brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a
white fog of wet sticky particles. My companion disappeared.
“Michael,” I shouted in sudden alarm.
I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and
strong, “This will stop shortly.”
His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few
minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard
shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in
sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over
a little rise. Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies
in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn’t
anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.
“Down Michael,” I screamed and hit the frozen
earth. I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was
Michael still standing.
Mom, those guys couldn’t have missed, not at that
range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits.
But there he stood, making no effort to fire
himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the
bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.
At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped
up to pull him down and that was when I got mine. I felt a sudden flame in my
chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know.
I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that
laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last
look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking, well this is not
Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in
shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face
was shining with a terrible splendor.
As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he
seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger; his arms stretched out wide,
maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like
the wings of an Angel. In his hand was a sword. A sword that flashed with a
Well, that is the last thing I remember until the
rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had
passed. Now and then I had but a moment’s rest from the pain and fever. I
remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.
“Where is Michael,” I asked.
I saw them look at one another. “Where’s who?”
“Michael, Michael that big Marine I was walking
with just before the snow squall hit us.”
“Kid,” said the sergeant, “You weren’t walking
with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out.
I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow.”
He looked at me, curiously. “How did you do it
“How’d I do what?” I asked half angry despite my
wound. “This marine named Michael and I were just . . .”
“Son,” said the sergeant kindly, “I picked this
outfit myself and there just ain’t another Michael in it. You are the only Mike
He paused for a minute, “Just how did you do it
kid? We heard shots. There hasn’t been a shot fired from your rifle.. And there
isn’t a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there.”
I didn’t say anything, what could I say? I could
only look open-mouthed with amazement.
It was then the sergeant spoke again, “Kid,” he
said gently, “everyone of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke.”
That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may
have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that
is what happened.