By CALEB SLINKARD
In what proved to be a long, convoluted, yet ultimately fruitful process, Gov. Rick Perry signed a resolution on Monday that formally awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Audie Murphy.
The governor’s signature completes a process that began months ago with a bill filed in the Texas legislature’s first regular session. That bill was passed by the Texas House and Senate, but was not signed by Perry. A second resolution suffered the same fate.
The final resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 3 (HCR 3) was introduced by Rep. Scott Turner (R-Rockwall) in the second special session called by Perry.
“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, who was born in Hunt County and is nationally-recognized for his courageous actions in World War II and his subsequent movie roles. 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.
The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, which was first awarded in 1997, is the highest military decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Texas Military Forces.
An official ceremony to award the medal to Murphy’s family has not been scheduled yet.
While Murphy passed away more than four decades ago, the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor might not be his last medal. Dave Phillips, who was instrumental in getting Murphy nominated for the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, has put together a petition he plans to send to President Barack Obama to nominate Murphy for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The petition is supported by an extensive list of military personnel, including Medal of Honor recipients, four star generals, former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff, musicians and many more.
The medal of freedom is the highest honor the United States can bestow upon a civilian, and the medal is awarded at the sole discretion of the President of the United States. Phillips’ nomination is based not on Murphy’s impressive military record, but rather on his efforts to raise awareness of what is now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), condition Murphy suffered from.
For more information on the petition, visit www.audiemurphy.com.