Wednesday 7 December 2016

The strange case of the beam of light shining on fallen hero’s rescued puppy

Independent.ie reporters

Published 25/11/2011 | 12:03

When ABC news sent a camera crew to do a follow-up on Hero an unexplained beam of light shone from the sky while the cameras were rolling
When ABC news sent a camera crew to do a follow-up on Hero an unexplained beam of light shone from the sky while the cameras were rolling
Justin Rollins with Hero, the stray puppy he found in the Iraqi warzone

IN the last email Justin Rollins sent to his girlfriend in America he attached a photo of himself playing with a stray puppy he found in the Iraqi warzone.

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But by the time Brittany Murray opened the message the next morning, Justin had been killed in the line of duty.

The puppy in the photo was to provide a lifeline to their fallen hero and the Rollins family were to embark on a mission to bring the puppy to their home in New Hampshire.

Seeing the photos "felt like he was still real, he was still here," Brittney Murray said.

As is customary, when army officials attended the funeral they asked the family what it could do to help, Murray and Justin’s mother Rhonda told them they could find the puppy Justin was playing with in the photo and send it to them.

“They said the chances of finding her were one in a million,” said Rhonda. However, after the request made its way into national headlines, a little puppy in a warzone became the subject of a massive army search. Soldiers in Justin’s battalion were tasked with finding the puppy in what became known as Operation Hero.

"Because Justin was a hero, the dog, whether it was male or female, it going to be named Hero," said Rhonda. Soon the call came that Operation Hero had been a success and the puppy was located and flown to her new home via Bahrain, Brussels and New York before finally landing in New Hampshire to a full-blown media circus fit for a rock star.

However the story doesn’t end there. When ABC news sent a camera crew to do a follow-up piece on Hero in her new home, for the prime time 20/20 show, an unexplained beam of light shone from the sky on Hero while the cameras were rolling.

At one point, Hero walked a short distance and "the clouds broke and a light began to solidify in a beam directly down on Hero—a kind of vertical halo," according to film maker Kimberly Launier. The dog "turned to look at me, and it was all I could do to hold the camera steady and not drop it in astonishment," adds Launier. "It was an unforgettable moment, and made me wonder if in fact Justin was in there. Then the light vanished."

A note on ABC’s website says that the image has not been altered by Photoshop in anyway.

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