Today is Veteran's Day, and I want to offer my personal thanks to all those brave men and women who have served in the American armed forces. We live in the greatest country in the history of civilization, and that would not be possible without the sacrifices of those who serve to protect our way of life.
Veteran's Day also gives us an opportunity to look back on some of those who have served our country with honor and distinction. One of the most famous and decorated veterans in history lived right here in Senate District Two and Hunt County.
Audie Murphy was born in Kingston, Texas and grew up in Celeste, Texas. The following information is taken from the Audie Murphy Memorial Site at www.audiemurphy.com.
Audie Leon Murphy rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given to any individual in the United States of America, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." He also received every decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium. Credited with either killing over 240 of the enemy while wounding and capturing many others, he became a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division.
Beginning his service as an Army Private, Audie quickly rose to the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant, was given a "battle field" commission as 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded three times, fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater, and survived the war. During Murphy's 3 years active service as a combat soldier in World War II, Audie became one of the best fighting combat soldiers of this or any other century. What Audie accomplished during this period is most significant and probably will never be repeated by another soldier, given today's high-tech type of warfare. The U.S. Army has always declared that there will never be another Audie Murphy.
On 21 September, 1945, Audie was released from the Army as an active member and reassigned to inactive status. During this same time, actor James Cagney invited Murphy to Hollywood in September 1945, when he saw Murphy's photo on the cover of Life Magazine.
His first starring role came in a 1949 released film by Allied Artists called,
Bad Boy. In 1950 Murphy eventually got a contract with Universal-International (later called Universal) where he starred in 26 films, 23 of them westerns over the next 15 years. His 1949 autobiography
To Hell And Back
was a best seller. Murphy starred as himself in a film biography released by Universal-International in 1955 with the same title. The movie,
To Hell and Back, held the record as Universal's highest grossing picture until 1975 when it was finally surpassed by the movie Jaws.
On a business trip on May 28, 1971, (Memorial Day Weekend) he was killed at the age of 46. A private plane flying in fog and rain crashed in the side of a mountain near Roanoke, Virginia. Five others including the pilot were also killed. Although Audie owned and flew his own plane earlier in his career at Hollywood, he was among the passengers that tragic day. On June 7th, Audie Murphy was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. His gravesite, near the Amphitheater, is second most visited gravesite year round. President Kennedy's grave is the most visited. In 1996 the Texas Legislature officially designated his birthday, June 20th, as Audie Murphy Day. On June 9, 1999 Governor George W. Bush, Texas made a similar proclation declaring June 20th to officially be Audie Murphy Day in the state of Texas.
For more information, please take time to visit the The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the American cotton industry, as well as the history of Hunt County, Texas and the northern Texas Blackland Prairie. Located in Greenville, Texas, you can visit their website at http://www.cottonmuseum.com/index.html.
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: firstname.lastname@example.org.