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Audie Murphy Day at the American Cotton Museum: From Cotton Picker to WWII Hero

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On Saturday, May 12, the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas, will honor a true Texas hero with the annual Audie Murphy Day. Audie Leon Murphy, the highly decorated WWII combat soldier and later movie star, will be remembered.

The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum occupies ten acres in Hunt County, Texas. You’ll experience history from the cotton fields to the war years, including a ten-foot statue of Audie Murphy. As a kid, Murphy picked cotton in the area.

Audie Murphy photo

Photo: Pixabay.com

Murphy is the primary honoree for the day, but other retired military vets, as well as current military, will also be recognized. Actor Duffy Hudson will give a live performance as Audie Murphy, which will take place at the Greenville Civic Center. A large crowd is expected, and the program starts at 9:30 a.m. Admission is free. You’ll want to hear Dr. Arnold Krammer at 3:00, later that afternoon at the museum. He will tell about WWII foreign POWs who were housed in various camps all over the state of Texas. Cost for his feature is merely the regular cost of admission for the museum. Greenville is located about 40 minutes east of Dallas.

The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum

Photo: www.cottonmuseum.com

Murphy, who died in a plane crash at the age of 46, received every military combat award the U. S. Army gives for valor. His 33 medals include the Medal of Honor with additional decorations from Belgium and France. As a result of his war experience, Murphy suffered from post-traumatic stress, fighting insomnia, nightmares,  and intense depression.

Murphy’s backstory is amazing. Murphy was born to sharecroppers in Hunt County, Texas, and his father deserted the family early on. Murphy then dropped out of the fifth grade to pick cotton, and he helped support the household. During his formative years, his skill with a hunting rifle helped feed the family. His mother died while Murphy was a teenager, then younger siblings were placed in an orphanage.

Audie Murphy grave

Photo: Pixabay.com

During the Army’s basic training, Murphy earned the marksman and expert badges. His childhood shooting prepared him for his war years. No doubt the Navy and Marines regretted turning down this boyish-looking hero. Murphy is buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, where his grave site is the second most visited. John F. Kennedy is first.