SGT Samuel Nichols, USMC

Recently, while looking through the Web, I came across a blog site put together by Mr. Tony Neria. His son-in-law, SGT Samuel Nichols was seriously wounded in Iraq and has been in a coma since. The blog is real-life account of the family's struggle to bring SGT Nichols back. It's truly moving. Please take a few minutes and visit his site at


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 soldier who was shot through the temple by small arms fire with a portion of his head missing as he lies in a coma in Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. 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.

Tony Neria (SGT Samuel Nichols, US