BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- July 4, 2013 felt like a normal day to Dr. Stephen Manyama. His youngest son, Elijah Milliard, was serving overseas during a tour in Afghanistan. “I was at home,” said Manyama. ”I called him that morning to wish him a happy July 4th; I didn’t get him. So, I called again. I didn’t get him.” Hours later, he received the news in the form of Army representatives on his front porch: Elijah had been killed in combat that morning. He was eighteen years old.
Born with the first name “Errol”, Milliard’s family found a well-suited nickname for him at a young age. “We nicknamed him ‘The Prophet,’” his father said with a laugh. ”We thought his laugh was just like the prophet Elijah, so we nicknamed him ‘Elijah.’”
Milliard was buried on July 15th at Calverton National Cemetery in Long Island, NY. According to Manyama, Sunday was his sons true hometown celebration. Milliard, while born in New York, was raised in Birmingham and graduated from Carver High School. “Elijah was a son of Birmingham,” said Manyama. ”This city needs the opportunity to celebrate their own sons.”