Things look quite a bit different these days at San Antonio’s Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, dedicated in 1973 and named after the most decorated World War II soldier who died in a private plane crash in 1971.
Pam Murphy, Audie’s widow, attended the dedication ceremony and donated many cherished items to the VA’s new facility built to care for the men and women following in Murphy’s footsteps as defenders of our freedoms.
In May 1975, the eight foot, one ton bronze statue of Murphy in battle dress designed by sculptor Jimilu Mason standing in front of the facility was dedicated. Over the past few years, the Murphy family, the Audie Murphy Foundation, the Audie Murphy- American Cotton Museum and the VA Historian have discussed methods to preserve the aging donated items in need of professional, museum quality care.
In January 2012, VA staff worked very closely with museum staff to relocate many artifacts such as the uniform shown in the photo, letters from Presidents, and various other prestigious medals and accolades. Professionals at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton museum in Greenville, Texas designed a special exhibit showcasing the valuable artifacts.
Of course, the bronze statue remains at the facility along with the original movie posters from Murphy’s successful Hollywood career which hang in the theatre inspired auditorium on the second floor of the facility.
While sending the artifacts to the museum in Greenville was bittersweet, it was essential to preserve these artifacts for future generations. Audie L. Murphy’s heroic spirit remains secure in the courageous men and women who defended our country and
travel these hallways. And the artifacts now have a place of honor as well!