statue photoFor 5 and 1/2 years I have been making a trip from Texarkana, TX to the DFW area to visit my family … and in the last months … moving to our new home in North Richland Hills, TX.

Each trip takes me past a memorial to Audie Murphy.  Growing up, Audie Murphy was one of my heroes … not only a WWII hero, but also the star of a number of movies I saw as a kid.  But … alas … I have never stopped … yet!

I know that in the next month, I will pull off I-30 and visit this memorial and museum … and no doubt blog about the experience.  Here are a few facts about this special place … for a special man!

A ten foot bronze statue of Audie Murphy sculpted by Greenville, TX artist Gordon Thomas stands vigil over the war memorial that was dedicated in 2004 to honor the memory of the 271 soldiers of Hunt County who gave their lives to protect and defend the United States in times of war during the 20th Century. As Audie Murphy once stated “The true heroes, the real heroes, are the boys who fought and died, and never will come home.”

Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II.  He was awarded all but one of the U.S. military awards for valor available from the U.S. Army, and was also decorated by France and Belgium.  He was presented the Medal of Honor for his defensive actions against German troops on January 26, 1945 at the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France.  During an hour-long siege, he stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks.  Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counter-assault.

During his post-war civilian life, Murphy enjoyed a 21-year career as an actor.  He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name.  Most of his 44 films were Westerns.  Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, just 23 days before his 46th birthday.  He was interred, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery.