By Caleb Slinkard
Gov. Rick Perry will be in Farmersville Tuesday to posthumously award Audie Murphy the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.
Murphy is already the most decorated soldier in World War II, having earned such distinctions as the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars and three Purple Hearts.
The ceremony will take place in downtown Farmersville, beginning at 1 p.m. Collin County Judge Keith Self will act as the master of ceremonies, and the 36th Infantry Division band and soloist will perform the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Farmersville Mayor Joe Helmberger, state Representative Scott Turner, Maj. Gen. John Nichols (Adj. Gen. of the Texas Military Forces), and Perry will all make remarks.
The Hunt County native died in a plane crash in 1971. Murphy served in the Texas National Guard from 1950-1966 and was also well known for his acting and music career. An inspiration to both civilians and military servicemen and women for generations, Murphy’s legacy is reflected often in Hunt County, including the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville and the Audie Murphy Memorial Park in Celeste.
The ceremony will conclude a process that began years ago to award the medal to Murphy. A bill was introduced in the regular and both special sessions before House Concurrent Resolution 3, which was introduced by Rep. Scott Turner (R-Rockwall), was passed by the legislature and signed by Perry.
Initially a bill filed in the Texas legislature’s first regular session was passed by the Texas House and Senate, but was not signed by Perry. A second resolution suffered the same fate.
“I ask you to stand with me today and reaffirm our commitment, although long overdue, to our most highly decorated World War II combat soldier, Audie L. Murphy, by posthumously awarding him the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor,” Turner said when he introduced the bill. “Although he received 33 decorations, awards and citations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts, the Texas legislature has yet to award Major Murphy the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.”
The Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously on July 18 to call on Perry to grant this honor to Murphy. The Senate passed HCR 3 on July 25.
In the past, the Texas Legislative Medal was only awarded once every two years. But the legislature passed a bill this year that allows them to award the medal to two individuals every other year.
A full event schedule can be found at www.farmersvilletx.com.