News 12 First at Five / Monday, May 28, 2012
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- Alice Maggard hasn't seen her husband in more than 20 years, but she visits him often.
"I get to see him every three or four months," she says with a smile, although it's apparent she wishes she could see him more.
On this particular visit, she brought a chair with her. She was planning to stay a while.
"We were close. I wish we were with him," she says as she begins to cry.
She admits it's been hard without him, but that her children have been a big help these past two decades.
Two followed in Dad's footsteps and become military men themselves. They both retired after 50 combined years of service. Alice is proud to say her grandchildren are also fighting for freedom.
"One just graduated from college, so he's now active. One is in Afghanistan, and there are two National Guard boys coming up."
As proud as she is, Alice knows they might find themselves in harm's way.
Her husband, Elijah Maggard faced it head on when he fought in Vietnam. The Army soldier returned home safe and sound, but when the call came to fight again, he wasn't so lucky.
"He was in Korea less than 18 days and was wounded," she said.
The injuries to his head were so severe he had to spend about a year in the hospital relearning to live so he could return to his military life. He even had to learn to walk, talk, drink and eat again.
After 21 years in the Army, Alice's husband retired. The last of those years he spent at Fort Gordon, and his final resting place is at the cemetery at Bellevue Memorial Gardens in Grovetown.
"Nothing better than military. Don't care if it's Air Force or Army, military people are people you can always count on," she said.
You can always count on Alice. More than 20 years after he was buried here, she still visits him here, and Memorial Day makes the time with her husband that much more special.