Saluting our Fallen Heroes: Remembering Hattiesburg Army Sgt. Anthony Magee

WDAM 7 salutes a fallen Pine Belt hero
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As Memorial Day approaches, WDAM 7 is saluting our fallen heroes.

It’s been 13 years since Army Sgt. Anthony Magee died from injuries after a missile hit his barracks in Iraq.

Magee was from Hattiesburg and not only is he being remembered in his hometown, but his story will be televised nationally Sunday.

The son, brother, husband, and father was just 29-years-old when he was killed in April 2010.

“Somebody fired a rocket on him,” said Magee’s father, Tony Davis. “When he stood up, he was the one that took the brunt of the hit. One little piece of shrapnel hit him in the back of the head.”

Davis met with us at Hattiesburg’s Veterans Memorial Park. His son’s name is etched in the pillar, along with soldiers Joshua Bush and Anthony Blount, under “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

“It is bittersweet,” he said. “I am not happy his name is here, obviously. But it is here. And I am glad somebody thought enough of him to include him in this. I also knew the young man’s parents above him, the Blounts. We became good friends after this.”

When Davis walked around the memorial, you could hear the jingle from his son’s dog tags.

“I don’t leave home without them,” Davis said. “Everywhere I go. Especially when I am off duty, off work. That’s what I do. I put my dog tags on. People ask me about them when I am in the grocery store or something like that, and say thank you for your service, I say, it’s not me, it’s my son and I tell them the story of my son.”

Magee’s father explained that his son was essentially killed in the field on that day in April, but was flown to Germany and kept on life support because he was an organ donor.

His family immediately flew overseas to the hospital.

“We started having to make decisions no parent should have to make,” Davis recalled.

After the ultimate sacrifice for our country, Sgt. Magee ultimately saved five other lives with his organs.

“I am glad he continues to live, even in somebody else’s body,” Davis said

Magee was flown back to Mississippi. Neighbors paid respects during several services and ceremonies in the days and months that followed, but 13 years later his family is reminding people not to forget the sacrifices of all the fallen.

“I was one of those folks that just had a holiday,” Davis said. “Set the BBQ grill up and just enjoyed a day off work, but when this happened and I learned the true meaning of what Memorial Day really is, it set my mind in motion.

“It is bigger than me. It is more than a BBQ. It’s more than a day on the lake or on the beach. It is bigger than that. You need to thank God for these soldiers because without them, you wouldn’t have the life that you have,” Davis said.

In total, 11 members of Davis’ family served in the country. His son is the only one who didn’t make it home.

“I wish I could have one more conversation with him, I really do,” Davis said.

During a weekend when we honor soldiers like Magee, his story will be shared with the entire country. Sgt. Magee’s family will be featured during PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert program this Sunday.

Family members will be flown to Washington D.C. for the event that will be broadcast across the nation.

“Extremely proud of that,” Davis said. “I tell you what. Ms. Jill Jackson, PBS, and her crew, they did a very excellent job. They showed up and they spent like two days with us.”

Monday, there will be Memorial Day ceremonies in communities across the Pine Belt. Davis encourages people everywhere to show up to one, honor the fallen, thank their families and remember their sacrifice.

“You feel that sense of loss, that sense of pride, a whole lot of emotions as you go throughout he day, different phases of emotions hit you,” Davis said.

If you’d like to watch the National Memorial Day Concert and hear Sgt. Anthony Magee’s story, check in Sunday, May 28, at 7p.m CST on PBS.

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