An amateur St. Paul gardener named Annette recently made a curious discovery among her strawberries.
Now she and another woman, a military mom living in Texas, both have a story to tell. There are still some gaps in it, sure. But it's remarkable all the same.
Over the weekend, Barbara Rozier, of Katy, Texas, posted a photo of a mysterious letter she'd received from St. Paul. Dated April 10, 2016, the letter tells the story of how a Minnesotan came to be in possession of a bracelet with Rozier's son's name on it.
Jonathan Rozier was killed in July 2003, just months after the start of the Iraq War, while running security on a building in Baghdad. He and his unit came under fire from small arms and rocket propelled grenades, according to an Associated Press story from that time.
Rozier was 25 years old. He left behind a wife, Jessica, and a infant son named Justin.
Here's the full letter, as received by Barbara Rozier:
Barbara & David:Barbara Rozier was both touched and mystified. She, like Annette, hadn't the faintest idea how a bracelet belonging to her son could've wound up 1,200 miles from her son's home town.
Forever thinning the strawberry patch in my backyard, I came upon this hard object, dirt-covered & scratched. Upon further investigation & scrubbing off of dirt I found this [com]memorative bracelet for your son Jonathan. How it came to be in my strawberry patch in St. Paul, Minnesota is beyond me. Perhaps the compost from our city? Anyway, my strawberry patch now has a name & forever shall be known as Jonathan’s Patch. Thanks for sharing such a little bit of your son’s valiant life. Found his story & your names via the wire.
Thinking of you, all best to your family.
P.S. Those strawberries are fantastic!
"We've never been there, we don't know anybody there," she told Good Morning America.
To be frank, Rozier's not all that impressed by the bracelet itself: It identifies Jonathan as a Second Lieutenant, when in fact he'd achieved the rank of First Lieutenant before he was killed. She suspects it might've been produced in bulk by a website that distributes fallen soldier memorabilia "randomly."
But Rozier is heartened by the effort taken by the St. Paul woman, whose identity remains a mystery.
"It sounds like something I would do," Rozier said, adding: "My first thought was, 'This woman is a mother, and she's thinking like a mother, and trying to track her down.'"