Perhaps one of his more eloquent and reflective statements came in a 1967 interview by Thomas Morgan of the Chicago Times. In the interview Audie Murphy stated, “To become an executioner, somebody cold and analytical, to be trained to kill, and then to return to civilian life and be alone in the crowd—-it takes an awful long time to get over it. Fear and depression come over you. It’s been twenty-odd years already, and the doctors say the effect of all this on my generation won’t reach its peak until 1970. So, I guess I got three years to go.” Sadly though and almost prophetically, Audie Murphy had only four years remaining in his own life, four years in which to ride the emotional roller-coaster of mental anguish agitated by his own inner turmoil and the demons that haunted his sleepless nights.
Murphy over the course of almost 25 years, beginning with the release of his memoirs in 1949, attempted to show the brutality of war and the mental toll war exerts on a soldier. In almost every memorable interview he would bring up the subject of “shell-shock” and the nightmares in order to inform the public of the affects of war on the human spirit. Near the end of his short life, Audie Murphy was asked in an interview “How does a soldier get over a war” to which the ever sad Murphy lowered his head and with a barely audible voice reflected, “I don’t think they ever do.”
His first wife, the actress Wanda Hendrix, offered this poignant but sad commentary on Murphy following his death: “Audie had a beautiful smile, unfortunately he didn’t smile much.”
Audie Murphy – his legacy continues
Honors are rendered and tributes bestowed by great societies so that we may remember the person; and the accomplishments of that person’s life and in doing so perpetuate their memory for future generations. Audie Murphy has certainly been accorded many tributes over the years since his untimely passing and his legacy continues to grow with the passage of time.
The name of Audie Murphy has been cited in the Congressional Record on numerous occasions. Additionally, he has had schools, monuments, markers, highways, bridges, a Veterans Administration hospital and numerous facilities on military installations named in his honor. The Army today has the “Sergeant Audie Murphy Club” to honor its most distinguished non-commissioned officers.
Audie Murphy has further received a “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
In addition, in 1995 he was honored with postage stamps by the governments of Guyana, Nevis and Sierra Leone. In 2000 he was finally honored with a commemorative United States postage stamp as a testament to his status as an iconic figure in American history.
Most recently, the author lead a national campaign to have Audie Murphy awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the supreme military honor in the state of Texas. That campaign resulted in Gov. Rick Perry posthumously bestowing Major Murphy the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor this past month.
Perhaps his single greatest honor is having been laid to rest after his untimely death in a plane crash at age 46 at Arlington National Cemetery. He lies amongst those that represent the finest in America, and Audie Murphy was certainly one of the finest of America’s soldiers and one of the greatest of our nation’s heroes. The Presidential Medal of Freedom would be one final fitting honor for Audie Murphy, so that he may once again be remembered by the citizens of Texas, and indeed all Americans.
The petition is due to close in the coming days and the formal recommendation submitted to the White House for action.