Fallen soldier returns home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fallen soldier returns home

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The body of a fallen Iowa soldier is back home today. Specialist Don Nichols was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last week.

Nichols graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 2009.

It was a very somber homecoming at the Waterloo Regional Airport.  Family, friends, and around 50 Patriot Guards and AMVETS Riders stood in complete silence as Nichols' casket was removed from the plane.

The flag draped casket was flown back to Iowa on a charter jet. Soldiers in their dress uniforms took the casket from the plane to a hearse waiting near by.

The Waterloo Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Waverly Police Department and a number of others escorted the hearse from the airport to a funeral home in Shell Rock.

Family and friends say seeing the casket for the first time made this tragedy become real.

"To be standing there and watching all of that is very emotional. It's very somber. You can hear the wind blow and the birds chirp and that's it. It's very somber and it's amazing," said family friend, Juneal Stuva.

Friends of the family are asking that on Saturday people line up along old Highway 218 from Waverly to Cedar Falls holding American flags. That will be the route taken from where the funeral is held to the cemetery where Nichols will be buried.

Nichols' funeral is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Waverly-Shell Rock High School. He'll be buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Cedar Falls Saturday.

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