Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday presented the state’s highest military decoration to World War II hero Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated soldiers in American history.
Perry was in Murphy’s hometown of Farmersville and bestowed the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor on Murphy posthumously. Murphy’s sister, Nadine Lokey, accepted the award on his behalf, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“It is a privilege to live in a state with men and women like Audie Murphy,” Perry was quoted as telling the crowd. “He reflected what valor and determination and courage meant.”
He said Murphy “lives on in the hearts and memories of a generation of Americans.”
Born in Hunt County, Murphy joined the Army in 1942 at the age of 17, lying about his age to gain entry after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Europe and Mediterranean.
Murphy earned 28 medals, before turning 21 and was even decorated by France and Belgium. He is credited with killing or wounding about 50 Germans in the battle for which he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Murphy went on to a film acting career before dying in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971 at age 46. His portrait hangs in the Texas House chamber.
Lokey, Murphy's last living sibling, told The Dallas Morning News the honor from her brother's home state was worth the wait.
“They say heroes never die,” she said after Tuesday's ceremony. “As long as you remember them, they are still alive.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.