Honoring our deployed, wounded and fallen heroes: I have this little routine every morning that involves taking a little drive to my local Starbucks, ordering a Grande coffee and reading the morning paper. Then afterwards, I mosey on back home, fire up my computer and go to work (I telecommute full time). It’s not a very exciting routine, but it starts my morning off right and it gets me into the proper frame of reference for the rest of my day.
Thousands of miles away, SGT. Joe Marine and LT. Jane G.I. are fulfilling their oath to their country by serving in a combat zone. They may be going door to door searching for insurgents or somewhat safely tucked away in an office in Baghdad’s green zone. In either case, our troops are putting their lives on the line every minute of the day far from the eyes of the American people they serve.
Take a look at the evening news—you aren’t going to see footage of the IED that exploded only yards away from LT. Jane’s Humvee as she is being transported to her new duty station. You won’t see or hear the bullet scream by SGT Joe’s head as he walks down a street full of people able and willing to kill him. You won’t see on the news all the beds that are being filled up at our local VA hospitals. You won’t see the 18 year old soldier being medivac’ed into the Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas after his legs were blown off by an IED. You also won’t see the marine who was shot through the temple by small arms fire with a portion of his head missing as he lies in a coma in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Iraq and Afghanistan are so far way from us—and for the most part, the sacrifices our military are making everyday go mostly unnoticed.
I wanted to carry something with me at all times to help remind myself of the sacrifice Sam and his buddies are making for their country. I found a wonderful way of honoring our troops. It’s called a Hero Bracelet.
About two years ago the folks in this organization were looking for a way of honoring our service men and women who were serving in Iraq. The result was the creation of the Hero Bracelets you see in the graphic to the left. The idea has grown over time to include memorial bracelets, deployed bracelets, purple heart bracelets and memorial or deployed HeroTags. A percentage of the cost of each bracelet goes to a couple of different charities that support the troops. If you check out their web site, you’ll see Hero Bracelets have given a substantial amount of money to various causes that support our troops.
Last week I received the four purple heart bracelets that I ordered for my family. The inscription (two lines) reads as follows:
SGT Sam Nichols, USMC, Kilo 3/12 Purple Heart, Iraq 2007
In memory of LCPL Lynch, CPL McRae and Zindars, DOC Noble
And by the way—when I walk out of my house in the morning to get my coffee at Starbucks, I stop and look up at the flag that is waving on the flag pole in my front yard and I thank God for the service men and women who are serving in our military.
Let us never forget the sacrifice these young men and women make for our country.
Sam’s medical status:
Monday 15, 2007: Erin occasionally sends us pictures from her phone of cool things Sam is doing. This one brought a tear to her daddy’s eye! I’ve mentioned that Sam is getting pretty good at moving his right arm, hand and fingers. Erin was taken by surprise today when Sam reached up and cupped her cheek with his hand. Later in the afternoon he did the same thing again. In Erin’s text message to us, she wrote “he loves me : )”.
The doctors at the Palo Alto VA Hospital are going to start giving Sam small doses of Ritalin. When given to someone in Sam’s condition (emerging from a coma), it will act as a stimulant and help increase his participation level in his therapy sessions.
Tuesday 16, 2007: Sam is going to be off of the tilt table for a while and won’t be sitting up anytime soon (i.e. in a wheelchair) because the doctors are working to get his backside wounds to heal (his backside was burned in the IED attack). They are doing a couple of things to help the healing process: using a pulse lavage system (similar to a water pik) to help irrigate the wound and promote healing. They are also using an e-stim (E.Stimulator unit) to help bring blood to the affected areas that need healing.
Sam’s trach tube was capped for four hours today and he did really well. Yesterday he was capped for seven hours because someone forgot to come back in and recap him, but he also did fine. He is having less trouble with saliva the past two days. It seems he is getting better at breathing in and out of his nose and is also swallowing better. Keep in mind that he is relearning how to do all these things that we take for granted.
Erin walked up to Sam’s window today to see if he was still sleeping (it’s a little window in his door). She knocked on it to see if he was awake, and he responded by waving at her. In other PT (physical therapy) news today, Erin said she put her hand over Sam’s head today and asked him to touch her hand—which he did.
Sam was put on Ritalin today, but in a very low dosage so they aren’t seeing any changes in his normal activity. The will be increasing the dosage a little at a time to see which dosage is best for him.