With grateful thanks to all members of our Armed Forces, past and present, alive and deceased,
this is my humble salute to Veteran’s Day.
In 2011, 21 year old Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Nicholson was down and out. Wounded while on foot patrol in Kajaki, a village in southern Afghanistan, when he was hit with a 40 pound bomb hidden in the roadside he was patrolling.
Oh, did I say wounded?
I meant maimed. Severely, as in lost not one but both legs and part of his left arm. The marine cry of “oorah” took on a new meaning for him. Anger, depression, drinking followed because hey, wouldn’t you? But the obvious difference between Sgt. Nicholson and most of the rest of us is that he bounced back. Big time. Watch this amazing come back in the ABC Nightly News video clip made just two months ago back in September while Mike was competing at the 2017 Invictus Games, the only international sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women:
So, did you catch the part about him winning 5 medals that included both gold and silver in track and the others from competing in wheelchair basketball, swimming, and golf? Yeah, well, I guess you could call that a comeback, right? Somehow he found the strength, courage, and determination to keep going and apparently decided not to stop.
That was one big OORAH!
Anyway, I chose to write about Sgt. Nicholson today because he also has an Orlando connection. Mike came here right after completing that grueling competition schedule at the September Invictus Games to race alongside our local crowd of heroes participating in the T2T 5K that took place at Crane’s Roost in Altamonte Springs, something I’ve posted about several times on this blog site. As a recipient of a smart home, which is one of the many charities supported by funds raised via T2T activities, Mike will be forever grateful to those that support the cause.
And about that ‘alive date’. It’s a military reference to the day a soldier survives catastrophic wounds. For Mike Nicholson, his alive date is July 6, 2011. And while there are millions of vets’ stories to write about when paying homage to Veteran’s Day, I’m glad I chose Mike and am able to educate others about both his incredible journey and his alive date because there’s a definite happy ending to this Vet’s story that now even includes a loving wife, Katie, and two beautiful kids.