Last summer I went to Columbus Mississippi for the wedding of my niece. My sister, who is married to an Air Force pilot instructor took us to the old part of the town of Columbus and showed us the cemetery where Union and Confederate soldiers are buried. Hopefully you can read the tombstone in this picture, but if not, it just says “Unknown Confederate Soldier”.
There were hundreds of grave markings like this one in the cemetery—some with names of soldiers and many without. Visiting this graveyard really made me pause and think about the history of our country and the many brave men (and women) who have given their lives for the freedoms we take for granted. Regardless of whether or not these soldiers were Confederate or Union, they believed in what they were fighting for. They believed in their leaders and they believed in their country.
Today our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are still dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also believe in their country. They served their country with honor and should be held in the highest regard. To the men and women of our armed services who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country—Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI and so on, I salute you. You are the cornerstone by which this country was built. You are the eagle, the statue of liberty, the twin towers—you are the reason I look at the flag and get tears in my eyes…You are the stars and stripes that bind our country together.
I would like to pay special tribute to the fallen heroes of Kilo Battery—Corporal James H. McRae, Corporal Matthew R. Zindars, Lance Corporal Robert A. Lynch and Hospitalman Daniel S. Noble. We honor you for the ultimate sacrifice you gave to your country.
Sam’s medical status:
From Sam’s Father Eric:
SAM IS BACK!!!! Just as Erin had predicted, there were medications involved that had conflicting results; leaving Sam rather listless last week. The battle between Seratonin and Dopamine if my memory serves me correctly. I just love it that Erin knows all of the scientific names of most or all of the drugs being used to help stimulate the natural production of chemicals in Sam’s brain…Erin called it last week and Sam’s primary physician (Dr Dougherty) confirmed it on Friday of last week. At any rate, he is feeling much better and is getting back to his steady and sure progression towards wellness.
We spent a few hours yesterday listening to Sam’s own voice
complete and fill in blanks of many different items that Erin had collected. Everything from a “Starwars Rap” to television and movie dialogues. Erin reports that she is beginning to see Sam’s own personality coming through in not only what he says, but how he says it. Little catch phrases that are unique to them and have special meanings just to them. Comments on places and events they have visited, expressions from their almost 10 year history together, (pretty good for them only being 23 & 24) and most of all, terms and phrases of endearment…There isn’t a visit that goes by that I don’t hear an “I Love You” from each of them to each other…We all know God’s love
transcends all understanding; so I can only assume he has given these two a large dose of his own love to share with each other and those around them…
It is so good to see Erin in both an attempt to refresh Sam and give
him tasks to complete; offer him a wash cloth and ask him to wash his
face…he vigorously washes his face all over and hands it back to her. She then asks him to check his hair and see if it needs to be cut. He checks the length and flashes her the number 4 with four fingers. We don’t understand and ask if it means 4 times per month, or in 4 days. It is Brandi [Sam’s brother Donny’s fiancee] who suggests later that maybe it is the #4 attachment of the clipper that will be used in the haircut…He is sharper than the rest of us…Ha! It is an incredible visit and I leave so happy…Please note the better look he has about him and note he is waving goodbye to me as I am leaving…It is sooo hard to say goodbye and leave…
It’s been 10 months since that fateful day in Iraq and the 1 year mark
looms…One thing I wanted you all to know that reside in my address book is how much I appreciate Tony & Julie Neria. (That is Erin’s parents)…When this horrible incident first happened, they were devastated like the rest of us…their only thought was what they could do to help and take some pressure off Sam’s Mother and I. Tony, being the gifted computer techie that he is; originated the blog that is still going strong to this day…this media of information has been an effective tool in getting lots of news about Sam to those interested, and around the world. Sam’s Marines were following it in Iraq…Tony started it to keep the questions and endless phone calls to us at a minimum, and back then it was soooo appreciated. It truly is and has been a labor of love, and the Nichols family has appreciated it so much. It’s no wonder Erin is such a dynamo with incredible character and dedication; she comes by it naturally…Tony is the Worship and Music Director at his church; and He and Julie play practically all of the known instruments…They have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others…
Until next time, much love….