Putnam County Family Remembers Fallen Soldier
UPDATE: Army Spc. Erica Alecksen will arrive at the Greensboro airport on Wednesday at 11:40 a.m. Her family said there will be a dignified transfer from the plane to the vehicle and a motorcade will follow back to Eatonton. Alecksen will lie in state at Eatonton's First United Methodist Church between two and six in the great hall and the funeral will start at 6:30 p.m. The family encourages people attending to wear red, white and blue in honor of Alecksen's service to the country.
The family of Army Spc. Erica Alecksen come together to remember the fallen soldier who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Monday morning
Her family gathered at the house of her maternal grandparents in Eatonton, GA to console one another on their loss.
"It's hard to put words to it,” Alecksen’s father, Lars Alecksen said. “Every word you could express is just a small part of what we're feeling."
Upon hearing the news, family members reacted with different emotions.
"When I heard this, I never cried so much in my life," Alecksen’s maternal grandfather, Harold Huggins said.
"You just don't imagine what it's like when it happens to you,” her uncle Fred Huggins said. “Nothing prepares you for it.”
But for her 16-year-old brother Charles, the loss is heartbreaking.
"I'm just sad to see her gone,” he said. “It seems like it’s a dream."
Charles and Erica were very close. She was very active in his life. She drove him to sports practices, attended Boy Scouts meetings and stayed up late talking with him for hours. Alecksen’s aunt, Lydia Ivanditti said they are processing the loss but will remember the young woman who touched their lives.
"She was a model teenager, she was a model child, she was a model soldier, and she had a moral compass that was dead center."
But for her parents it will be a certain facial expression they will not forget.
"Never seen Erica with anything but a smile on her face," Lars Alecksen said.
The family looked through pictures of the young soldier from her days at school to when she graduated basic training. The family said they are proud of Erica who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“She served the country so well and so proudly and everyone feels that pride in the pain in her loss.”
Some of the family members will be flying to Dover, Del. tomorrow to receive Alecksen's body and bring it back to her hometown of Eatonton. The service will be on Saturday at Eatonton's First United Methodist Church. The family said they encourage people to wear red, white and blue in honor of Alecksen. The U.S. Capital in Washington D.C will be flying a flag on Wednesday in tribute to her and will then be sending it to her family.