Funeral arrangements set for SPC Don Nichols - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Funeral arrangements set for SPC Don Nichols

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SHELL ROCK (KWWL) -

The family of Specialist Don Nichols of Shell Rock are making final arrangements for their son's funeral. Nichols was killed by an IED explosion in Afghanistan last week. The army specialist graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 2009. That's where his loved ones will pay their final respects at his funeral Saturday.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of family members, friends, and military members will attend the funeral. Even more are expected to line the streets between Waverly and Greenwood Cemetery in Cedar Falls. Plans are in the works to have small flags in every one of their hands.

But first, on Friday, members of the American Legion will conduct an incredibly symbolic ceremony -- exchanging the Nichols' Blue Star Banner for a gold one. His family received the Blue Star Banner when Nichols' deployed to Afghanistan, the same as every other American family who has a loved one in active duty.

"The blue star was basically a symbol of loyalty. Loyalty to country," explained American Legion Post #176 Commander Marvin Behrens.

Very few families will experience the ceremony planned for Friday afternoon, at the start of Nichols' visitation.

"It's basically intended to say something about the family, and the family that they lost," Behrens said.

The military will present a new flag, the Gold Star Banner, to represent the Nichols' sacrifice.

"The blue turned to gold. And the gold is the symbol of value. Priceless value, if you will," said Behrens. "And right now, nothing is worth more to the family then the son that they gave for the country."

There is no way to adequately express one's gratitude for Nichols' actions, or sorrow for his family's loss. But on Saturday, many will do their best to say thank you to a fallen soldier, and the family who loved him.

"I think we all need to appreciate how much they gave. Because most of us won't ever be asked to do that," added Behrens.

The visitation is Friday, from 4:00-8:00 PM at Kaiser Corson Funeral Home. Saturday's service begins at the high school at 10:00 AM, with the burial to be conducted immediately following the funeral.

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