Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Man Movie--Memorial Day Special.

I first heard of Audie Murphy back in the early 70's. When I was young, my father used to talk about him sometimes, always with reverence and pride. I was too young to understand back then, but I imagined that he was a great big giant of a man. I figured that he had to be, the way my father spoke of him. I found out later that he was just a small guy, 5'5 and 110lbs.

Quiet and humble, Audie Murphy tried to enlist several times when World War Two broke out, only to be rejected by the Marines, the Army and the Navy for being underweight. But he was persistent and kept trying, and he finally made it into the Army, where he fought across North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. By war's end, he'd risen from Private to 1st. Lt. (Later to Major on the Reserves) and he'd been awarded every medal that the US Army presented, including the Congressional Medal of Honor when he was just 19 years old.

In this clip from To Hell and Back, real-life war hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy shows how he saved his squad mates from destruction by taking out three German machine gun nests after a band of Germans pretended to surrender, only to pull weapons and cut his unit to pieces.

He was the real deal. And we visited him at Arlington National Cemetery last week, too.

Here's his war-time autobiography: To Hell and Back

If you haven't read it yet, buy a copy and read it.

After the war, he found a career in Hollywood, making movies and raising horses on his ranch when not battling the demons of PTSD and campaigning to help other vets suffering from the condition. He lost most of his money due to a gambling addiction but even in bankruptcy, he refused to do then-lucrative commercials for cigarettes or alcohol because he did not want to be a bad influence to Americas's youth. He was killed in a plane crash in Virginia not too far from here in 1971.

When you've got a free evening, a lot of his movies are available for free on Nexflix or even Youtube. They're worth the time if only for the picture that they give us of this great American.


  1. I've see the movie "To hell and Back" more times than I can remember. I never tire of watching Audie in that fantastic movie.

    Then again I'm 70+ and was brought up in an era where saluting and saying the "pledge of allegiance" the flag, singing the National anthem at the start of every school day were not only mandatory, but ingrained in a culture of "love of Country".

    Sadly, I fear the young ones of today would rather be inflating their egos by "tweeting" or "FaceBooking" about themselves and their favorite Zombie move to others of their ilk.

  2. He was born near here. In fact, I know at least three towns that claim him as a native son ;)

  3. +1 on Toejam, and Audie Murphy WAS a true hero (and dealt with PTSD till the day he died.

  4. Another +1 to Toejam. Also, if you saw the movie "To Hell And Back" and enjoyed it, do yourself a favor and read the book. Gives you a bit of a different outlook on Mr. Murphy.

    And if any of y'all get out to the Dallas area, head east on I30 for a couple miles (maybe a few more than a couple) and visit the Audie Murphy memorial in Greenville.

  5. (oh, and slight nitpick....its just called the Medal of Honor, Congress...thankfully...has nothing to do with awarding it)

  6. On the night he was killed, I was watching "To Hell and Back" at my Dad's house. I was on liberty from the Navy (Virginia) and was watching the movie very late at night while the rest of the family slept. I found out the next morning that he was killed in the plane crash.

    A great American hero, and a great movie.

  7. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Audie was on great man and soldier