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First off, a happy Veterans Day and thanks to all those that have, or are, serving. Later today there is a brief ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at 700 Summer Street SE here in Salem.  Last Memorial Day I put together a short video taken at this memorial. You can find it at the end of this post. Sadly, since that time there there have been four more names added.

I was touched this morning by a story in the Washington Post of Marine Cpl. Todd A. Nicely who was recently awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with V device, for valor. Cpl. Nicely recently lost his arms and legs to a IED while leading his unit on patrol in Afghanistan. Amazingly he has not lost his spirit.

His story points to the unselfishness of those that serve and are willing to put themselves on the line for their country. Since his injury several months ago Cpl. Nicely’s has endured several surgeries and cycled through three different kinds of both artificial legs and arms. Yet his spirit is strong as you can see in the following comments.

“I remember screaming once or twice,” he said. “You know, those curdling, bloody screams that they do on the movies, like: ‘Waaaah! Waah!’ I did that a couple times, and I remember thinking to myself: ‘Don’t do that again, because this is the last image that these boys are going to have of you in their heads. So stay strong.’ After that, I just shut up.”

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“All you can do is be thankful you’re alive,” he said, “which I am.”

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(While in the hospital) late one night, he woke up and told (his wife): “I don’t know what’s wrong.”

“What do you mean, ‘You don’t know what’s wrong?’ ” she asked, sensing he meant his injuries.

“Do you want to know what’s wrong?” she asked. He said he did.

“Well, baby, you know you’re missing your legs?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I know.”

“Did you know you’re missing both hands?” she asked, crying.

“No,” he said.

He was quiet for a minute, then asked, “Did anybody else get hurt?”

She said no.

“Good,” he said.

“And that was the end of it,” she remembered.

Cpl. Nicely now spends time rehabbing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center learning tasks we take for granted; opening a bottle of Gatorade, removing a bill from his wallet and buttoning up his shirt.

It is a story worth reading.

On Veterans Day, honoring Marine who lost limbs in Afghanistan, but not spirit. By Michael Ruane.

Here is a link to my post on Veterans Day 2010 which was published in the Statesman Journal. And Finally the video I mentioned earlier.

Video: Some Gave All