Nichols' family grateful for continued outpouring of support - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Nichols' family grateful for continued outpouring of support

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Wednesday night, Nick Nichols attended one more memorial to his baby brother.

"It keeps going. It seems all the events, from two weeks ago... it's just been an ongoing memorial," he noted.

Donnie's tags hung around Nick' neck and the 21 year-old's memory was heavy on everyone's hearts as they prayed together at Veterans Memorial Hall in Waterloo.

"We've had a lot of family and friends and a lot of old faces to keep you occupied so you're not too down. It's a lot of support, a lot easier to accept what's happened," Nick said.

That support may have been most visible on Saturday. Thousands of Eastern Iowans lined the route between Nichols' funeral in Waverly and the Cemetery in Cedar Falls. The sight was nothing short of amazing for family members.

"It seemed like there wasn't five foot where there wasn't a flag on the ground or a person standing. I've never been a part of or seen anything like that before. There's a lot of emotions the whole way. You could see other soldiers or past veterans standing on the side with tears in their eyes. It means a lot to see that kind of support that Americans show," said Nick.

The Nichols are struggling to fully express how grateful they are for all the support. But the most difficult part may lie ahead, as they take time, alone, to let it all sink in.

"We'll get it. It's more of a... with all the military, the flights, it's been.. I wouldn't say rough, but an experience. I think the next couple weeks we'll get our time," Nick explained.

In that time, they'll keep the memories of the last two weeks in their thoughts -- of loved ones, and even strangers, paying tribute to an American hero.

Specialist Nichols' oldest brother, Joe, is currently on leave from his service in Afghanistan. He flew home last week with Nichols' body.

Joe attended Wednesday's vigil, along with several other family members. Nichols' battalion commander contacted us to get a message of "thank you" to the organizers of that vigil. Lieutenant Colonel Steve Kremer said he's "deeply touched and grateful for their support and the support that they are giving to the families and the communities."

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