Following Friday's practice, the Seahawks greeted 95-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Barbara Nichols, who will raise the 12 Flag on Monday night at CenturyLink Field as part of the NFL's Salute to Service month.
After shaking hands with or getting a hug from nearly every player on the Seahawks roster as well as head coach Pete Carroll, Lieutenant Colonel Barbara Nichols called it "an honor" to meet the players who "I see on TV all the time."
In reality, she had it backward, the honor was entirely theirs.
Nichols, 95, served in three wars as a member of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and is the oldest living military nurse in the United States. A Bronze Star recipient who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, Nichols, not the professional athletes, was the subject of admiration when practice ended Friday. After players wrapped up their day, Nichols stood in uniform greeting them as they came off the field, and nearly every player lined up to offer a handshake or a hug and thanked Nichols for her impressive service. Carroll later presented her with a personalized jersey.
When the Seahawks host the Falcons Monday night, Nichols will raise the 12 Flag as part of the Seahawks Salute to Service game. It will be the latest honor for Nichols, but far from the most significant one for a woman who once served as a nurse to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.
"I saw a lot, I was in the three wars—Korea, Vietnam and World War II," said Nichols, who also worked at Boeing helping assemble B-17 bombers. "World War II was different, no one had heard of the Cadet Nurse Corps. I worked at Boeing, President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt started the Cadet Nurse Corps because they needed nurses for World War II, so I joined, got three years training in Everett General hospital, became an RN. Then I went on active duty and went right to Korea. I did Korea, then the next thing was Vietnam, that was the hardest one to do. Really hard. But survived that one."
Nichols remains sharp and active to this day, walking a mile every day—OK, not every day anymore, she concedes, but some days, which is still awfully impressive at 95.
Nichols noted that her father and brother also served in the Army, her dad in World War I and her brother in World War II.
"He went in on D-Day, went all the way through Germany, all the way through into France and ended up in Czechoslovakia, and just came out with frostbite," Nichols said of her brother. "He was very fortunate."
To celebrate the NFL's Salute to Service month, Seattle's Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum hosted a WWII Sherman tank at team headquarters on Friday, November 17 as the Seahawks ready for their Monday Night Football matchup with the Falcons.