I should be sleeping now, but it can wait. It can wait, because in fifteen minutes another Veterans Day will have come and gone. I couldn't let it go before I have said this one last thing. Four years ago I told you the story of a young Marine from Michigan, who lost his life in the Iraqi Province of Anbar. His name was Nicholas Manoukian, and he was 22 years old.
Nicholas Manoukian is one of over four thousand Americans and untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion, but this post isn't about any of that, this is just a time to remember good young fellow, who was a dedicated Marine, husband, father, and son.
A couple of weeks after I posted about it, I was contacted by Manoukian's mother, Mary, who had read the post. Mary and I stayed in touch for a while, and she was good enough to tell me about her son.
Nick was born on August 31st, 1984, and was adopted at one year of age by Mary and Isaac Manoukian, of Lathrup Village, Michigan. Nick was the light of his parent's eyes. The Manoukians were a close family, and Nick and Mary drew closer still when Isaac died when Nick was only 12 years old.
When Nick was 14 and in Junior High School he met a girl named Danielle. By the time Nick was 15, he and Danielle were an item. Although they would drift apart, later, their meeting would be very important to them later in life.
Nick was interested in many things, including playing the drums, writing poetry, hockey, snowboarding, art and cooking. Nick was also, according to his mom, a great hugger! When Nick would see his mother, he would give her big, rib-crushing hugs.
Nick Graduated from Royal Oak Kimball High School, in 2003, and spent some time in college studying art before he joined the Marine Corps in 2004, sometime in this period, he and Danielle rekindled their relationship.
Corporal Manoukian deployed to Iraq the first time in March of 2005, and was involved in the second Battle of Fallujah.
Nick survived this deployment, but his unit, the first battalion, 6th Marine regiment was slated to deploy to Iraq again in September of 2006.
Before going back to Iraq, Nicholas had some things to do, so in July of 2006, he went back to Michigan on leave and married Danielle! After a too-short period, Nicholas was back with his unit, which deployed to Anbar province in September of 2006.
Manoukian had only been back in Iraq for a month when he was killed. His Humvee was stuck by a roadside bomb, while his unit was conducting combat operations.
Manoukian left behind his wife, mother, stepson, and as near as I can tell, a large number of loving friends. This good young man lost his life doing his duty.
Four years ago, I promised Manoukian's mother, Mary, that I wouldn't forget her son. I haven't. I won't. To tell you the truth, I don't really know any more about Nick Manoukian than I did four years ago, but that isn't what is important here. I made a promise to Mary, and if writing this little bit about her son every year helps one person remember him, well, that's the least I can do.