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    Posted May 5, 2008 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Remembering the fallen

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    Cpl Richard J Nelson

    On April 14, 2008, Cpl Richard "Ricky" Nelson (of Kenosha, WI) was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Al Anbar, Iraq. He was 23 years old. Richard died just one week prior to his first wedding anniversary and leaves behind a beautiful wife (Kristen), loving parents (Lennie & Susan), and 5 devoted brothers and a sister (Scott, David, Todd, Mark, Katie, & James). Ricky was a hero to his family, even before enlisting in the military. Just a few of the qualities that describe Rick are: CONFIDENT - Richard would regularly make fun of himself in an attempt to get others to smile. On his My Space page he describes himself this way, "I am happily married and I have a big head....literally its big. Not like, I have big ego. I actually have a big head." DETERMINED - When he set his mind to something... he would do it. One time he carried two gallons of milk above his head and walked for over a mile just because one of his brothers challenged him to do it. GENEROUS - After finishing up his training in San Diego, Rick wanted to spend time with one of his buddies from Wisconsin. Since his friend couldn't affort to fly out to San Diego, Rick wasted no time in paying for his ticket. More evidence of Rick's generosity was seen two days after his wedding. Since they couldn't afford a big honeymoon, Rick and Kristen just stayed in Kenosha. His brother Dave, who had flown in from Seattle, needed a ride to the airport (an hour away). Rick & Kristen agreed to interrupt their honeymoon to give him a ride . BUSY - Rick hated watching TV. He refused to spend time sitting around when he could be hanging out with friends and family. He rarely finished movies 'cause he would want to DO something. ORGANIZED - Rick always had to have things a certain way. Some would even argue that he was "anal retentive". Rick's wife, Kristen, always made sure that the area around their computer was clean so that if he would call from Iraq on the webcam... Rick would see a clean house. A LOVER - Rick and Kristen were high school sweethearts. They dated for four years, before getting married on April 21, 2007. While in Iraq, Kristen would write Rick a letter every day and he did his best to do the same. On the day that Kristen received the terrible news of Ricky's death... she received 5 letters from him in the mailbox. A CHRISTIAN - Richard Nelson had a deep faith in God and openly professed his commitment to Jesus Christ. He was water baptized in 2004 and at a memorial service held for him and LCpl Dean Opicka, in Iraq, soldiers recalled him openly talking about his love for God. Also, it was reported that right before the explosion... Ricky and the two marines in the vehicle with him were singing together, "Amazing Grace". His family speculates that after the explosion, Ricky finished the song in front of the throne of Almighty God (joined with the billions of people who've gone on before), "When we've been HERE ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we've first begun. Cpl Richard J Nelson will not be forgotten. His wake, at Proko Funeral Home, had lines of up to 3 hours long. His funeral processional consisted of 5 1/2 miles of cars. This is just a small glimpse of the lives that he has touched and left behind. Learn more about Cpl Richard J Nelson and sign his guestbook at: +www.richardjnelson.com+ -
    "...believe what you want. That is your right as Americans. But I am telling you, there are no heroes on any football fields, basketball courts or halls of government. There are honorable and decent people all over America. However, the heroes are on the battlefields of Iraq. Suffering, killing and DYING that others might live, and live in FREEDOM. Americans free from terror, Iraqis free from oppression and tyranny. I will not profess glory of battle or any other such hype. I will profess duty and sacrifice. Our Fallen show us all true duty and ultimate sacrifice. I have no doubt that the instant they die, they are whisked to heaven on the wings of Angels and placed before the unapproachable light of Jesus, who himself said: 'greater love hath no man, than a man lay down his life for his friends.' (John 15:13)" - Colonel Smith (October 2004)
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