WASHINGTON (March 17, 2014) U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, has introduced legislation that would rename the Waco VA Medical Center in honor of World War II hero Doris Miller.
Miller, who was born on Oct. 12, 1919 in Waco, was serving as a mess attendant on the USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
He ended up manning a 50 cal. machine gun, which he had not been trained to operate, but kept up a steady stream of anti-aircraft fire until ordered to abandon ship.
He was the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross, the Navy’s third-highest decoration for valor.
“Dorie Miller rose above and beyond the call of duty for both his country and fellow man,” Flores said in a press release Monday.
“His actions at Pearl Harbor led him to be recognized as one of the first heroes of World War II, distinguishing himself as a great African American hero in U.S. history.”
“By naming the center after Miller, we not only pay honor to his service and sacrifice but also to that of all veterans,” he said.
The bill has the bipartisan support of all members of the Texas congressional delegation including Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Flores said.
Miller died in action in November 1943.
Supporters continue to argue he should be awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor, something they say he was denied because he was black.
Since 2010, the Cultural Arts of Waco has been spearheading a memorial for Miller that costs an estimated $1.3 million dollars.
Right now, only $300,000 have been raised and it would take at least $800,000 to break ground on the project.
The memorial would sit at the north banks of the Brazos adjacent to the Washington Avenue Bridge.
Early renderings depict the memorial shaped as the hull of a battleship, with information regarding Miller’s upbringing in Waco, along with a bronze statue of Miller at its center.
The Cultural Arts of Waco hopes to dedicate the memorial on December 7, 2016.
To donate to the memorial…go here http://www.dorismillermemorial.org/donate/