What up, it's dramas from the Life as a Gringo podcast.
We are back with a brand new season. Now Life as a Gringo speaks to Latinos who are born or raised here in the States. It's about educating and breaking those generational curses that man have been holding us back for far too long. I'm here to discuss the topics that are relevant to all of us and to define what it means to live as our true authentic self. Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm.
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. What is Circle? At Circle, we're building a digital dollar that brings the power of the internet to money.
Circle is a place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers, and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. MSNBC Films presents a new six-part original series from NBC News Studios hosted by John Leguizamo. I wanted to do a show where people watch this and go, I want to be Latino. And you can't tell Latino stories without plenty of good food, music, and dancing.
So come on, let's go, let's go. Leguizamo does America beginning Sunday, April 16th at 10 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC and streaming on Peacock. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show. Our next story comes to us from a man who's simply known as the History Guy.
His videos are watched by hundreds of thousands of people of all ages on YouTube. The History Guy is also heard here at Our American Stories. Today, the History Guy remembers a truly extraordinary Civil War heroine, Mary Edwards Walker. He was the only woman in United States history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Here's the History Guy. The Medal of Honor, the United States highest award for valor was established by the United States Army in 1862 to recognize those soldiers who distinguished themselves by gallantry and intrepidity in combat with an enemy of the United States. Since that time 3,459 Medals of Honor have been awarded, and only one has gone to a woman, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. And hers is a story worth remembering. Mary Edwards Walker was born in 1832 in upstate New York, the youngest of seven children. Her parents were farmers and free thinkers.
The free thought movement was a movement that challenged authority and tradition, and thought that truth should be derived from logic and reason, and it was that upbringing that not only allowed her to escape traditional gender roles of her time, but to develop a fierce sense of independence and justice. Mary's parents were determined to give all of their children a good education, and she studied at Valley Seminary in Fulton, New York. She always had an interest in physiology and anatomy, and so she worked as a teacher in order to earn enough money to be able to attend medical school. Graduating with honors from Syracuse Medical College in 1855, the only woman in her class.
She struggled though to build a successful practice, as female doctors were very rare in that time, and often not trusted. When the war started she volunteered with the Union Army, seeking a commission as a field surgeon. But the Union Army didn't hire female surgeons, and so she was only allowed to serve as a nurse, which is how she served after the Battle of First Bull Run. She then started volunteering her services as a field surgeon, and treated soldiers after the Battles of Fredericksburg and Chickamauga. But finally in 1863, she was hired as a contracting acting assistant surgeon, the first female surgeon in the Union Army, with the pay of a lieutenant, although she was still a civilian. She didn't much care about rules or the enemy line, she would go where she needed to go to treat people, and she would frequently travel behind enemy lines to treat civilians in need, say to deliver a baby or treat someone that was sick. And that's what she was doing in April of 1864, when she was captured and arrested by the Confederate Army as a spy. She was held as a prisoner of war until August of that year, when she was finally exchanged. She continued in federal service and was made acting assistant surgeon to Ohio's 52nd Infantry Regiment. She also managed a hospital for female prisoners, and later managed an orphanage. She was recommended for the Medal of Honor by General William Tecunseh Sherman and General George Henry Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga. There's no record of the original nomination, but when the medal was awarded by President Andrew Johnson in 1865, it commended her because she dedicated herself with patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and in the hospital, to the detriment of her own health.
She always said that she got the award because she was the only doctor brave enough to go behind enemy lines to treat people. Throughout her life she showed the independent thought of her upbringing and one of her great causes was dress reform. She believed that women's fashion of the day was injurious to health. She complained that corsets were restricting and that large skirts with multiple petticoats were not only uncomfortable and restricting, but they also collected dust and dirt. She wrote two books on the subject of dress reform, complaining that women's fashion was not just dangerous to the health but also expensive. She would often dress in a mid-length skirt and men's trousers, which she felt was much more practical and protected the woman's modesty. But later in life she would often give speeches in full men's formal dress attire.
She said, I don't wear men's clothes, I wear my own clothes. While she was passionate about that cause, it was one of many. She was also part of the temperance movement. She was an abolitionist and she was a suffragette and she testified before Congress several times on the issue of women's suffrage.
In 1917 the army did a review of their Medal of Honor rolls and removed 911 names including Mary Edwards Walker. The reason they revoked her medal was that she was actually a civilian at the time and that her deeds were not in combat, but her medal was returned posthumously by Jimmy Carter in 1977. In her life she had so many causes, for example during the war she realized that there were lots of women who were coming to Washington DC to visit injured soldiers, brothers, her husbands, and so she started a society to help women who were visiting the capital find a safe place to stay and to find their loved ones in all the many area hospitals. And after the war she passionately advocated to provide pensions to Civil War nurses and argued that they should be given the right to vote in gratitude for their service. All her life she had to struggle to make a living, she was never able to establish a successful medical practice because sadly in her time people just did not trust female physicians.
She finally passed away on the family farm in 1919 at the age of 86. Even in her time she was more known for her eccentricities than her accomplishments and she's largely forgotten today. And that's just wrong because her accomplishments were astounding, especially with what she had to face in her day. And darn it the only female winner of the Medal of Honor deserves to be remembered. And a special thanks to Greg and a special thanks to the history guy and darn it she does deserve to be remembered. We're talking about Mary Edwards Walker, 3,473 Medal of Honor recipients. She's the only woman and by the way in large measure she believes she got that honor by being the only doctor brave enough to go behind enemy lines to treat soldiers. That she would not be able to get a medical practice going in this country. Well that tells you a lot about how far we've come.
People just didn't trust the idea of going to see a woman and thinking they'd get good treatment. The story of Mary Edwards Walker here on Our American Stories. Folks if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history from war to innovation, culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. A place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. Digital currency is helping to form the base layer for a new global commerce infrastructure. And stable coins like USDC issued by Circle help to bring faster payments at internet scale.
From merchants at the point of sale to corporations that want to pay global suppliers and even employees more efficiently. Visit circle.com slash podcast to learn more. Most TVs are smart nowadays but with busy home screens and remotes with too many or too few buttons, smart shouldn't mean complicated. That's why Roku TV is the smart TV made easy. The customizable home screen puts your inputs, streaming favorites like iHeart and free live TV all in one place.
From simple settings anyone can understand, automatic updates with the latest features and much more. Roku TV is more than a smart TV, it's a better TV. Learn more today at roku.com.
Happy streaming. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not so secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassin's versus Templars on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts. And we continue with our American stories and we're about to tell you one of the quintessential American stories about one of the most esteemed of our American vets. Yet chances are, many of you've never heard this man's name before. And now let's go to the story of Audie Murphy. He had over 200 years of experience in the military. He was the first American veteran in the United States to receive the Medal of Honor.
And now let's go to the story of Audie Murphy. He had over 250 kills in World War II. He is America's most decorated soldier, having received every award, citation, and decoration the army could give, including the Medal of Honor. All before he turned 20, though he looked 14. He became a movie star and wrote 17 songs which were recorded by guys like Dean Martin, Eddie Fisher, Porter Wagner, Jimmy Dean, and Charlie Pride. He wrote a best-selling autobiography and starred in its film adaptation, which became Universal Studios' highest-grossing film for 20 years, until Jaws broke its record in 1975. His grave is the second most visited at Arlington National Cemetery.
JFK's is the first. Yet this five-foot-five, 110-pound, baby-faced hero is practically unknown in America today, which is astonishing considering just 50 plus years ago he received more fan mail than any other celebrity in Hollywood. To find out more about this American hero, let's take a listen to the man who wrote the book. Dr. David A. Smith is an American history professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He wrote The Price of Valor, the life of Audie Murphy, America's most decorated hero of World War II.
I asked him, who is Audie Murphy? It's interesting because nobody else in American history combines these two sort of archetypal roles as he does. I mean, he's the most decorated soldier from the biggest war we've ever fought. And at the same time, or right after, he was a movie star at a time in Hollywood when movie stars had a cultural cachet that they would never have again. And one of the things that I find so fascinating about him is that he brings these roles together. He brings together the role of genuine hero and celebrity, and they don't match.
They don't match at all. I mean, a hero is a very particular thing. A hero is an important cultural element within any culture. A hero is how we learn what virtue is. I mean, a hero is someone who, for a small amount of time, embodies a particular virtue.
I mean, a virtue is an idea, and we have trouble relating to it until we see it in the flesh. And that's what a hero is. And that's what he was first, selflessness, determination, duty, patriotism, that whole bit. And then, gosh, then he becomes a movie star. And he hated being a movie star. He didn't like movie stars. His first wife, to whom he was married for just a year, wanted to be a movie star badly.
And that's what she was in Hollywood for. And that's what drove them apart because he hated Hollywood. He hated the phoniness of celebrity. And he disparaged his own talents. He refused to hang around other actors, mostly.
When he was on the set, he would hang around with the horse wranglers and the stuntmen and the props guys. And it's fascinating to me that here in this one person, you have extreme heroism and extreme celebrity trying to mix. And his story is a story of how we've confused them today.
In mythology and legend, a hero is a man of divine ancestry who was endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his brave exploits and favored by the gods. In reality, Audie was all these things. But as to the part of ancestry, it was far from divine. Here's Joanne Mattern, author of Audie Murphy, Fact or Fiction.
Audie Murphy was born on June 20th, 1925. And he was born in a little town called Kingston, Texas. His parents were sharecroppers. And that means that they picked cotton in fields, but they didn't own the fields. The fields were owned by someone else. And in return for working, all they got was a little shack to live in and a tiny little bit of the money that they earned. Everything else went to the owner of the field. The house they lived in was no more than a little shack.
It had no running water, no bathrooms, no electricity. They had 12 children altogether. And as soon as the kids were old enough, maybe four or five years old, they went to work in the cotton fields with their parents. Audie later said that he just worked and that it was a full-time job just existing. In fact, when Audie was born, his mother, Josie, couldn't take time off to take care of the baby. So she put him in a baby swing and took him out in the cotton fields with her. Audie's father, his name was Emmett.
And Emmett, he was pretty lazy, more interested in gambling and having a good time. And the only time they got any meat to eat was if Audie and his brothers went out and hunted them. A neighbor once lent Audie his gun and it had eight bullets in it. And Audie went hunting, came back with four rabbits and four bullets still left in the gun. That's how good a shot he was.
Here's Audie's sister, Nadine Murphy. He got a little old.22, I don't know where, but he was really good at it. He could kill a rabbit on the run. Well, that's how we lived.
That's how we ate. He would go out and kill squirrels, rabbits. And I guess we could say we're alive today because of him. He was my hero even then before he ever did anything great. He was great to me then.
Here again is Dr. Smith. One of the things that defines him throughout his entire life is his sense of duty to the people who are depending on him. He felt his duty toward his younger siblings in a profound way. Times were beginning to unfold that would shape his destiny forever.
The country was in the throes of the Great Depression and at one point things got so bad for the Murphys that they moved into a railroad boxcar. When he was 13 years old, father left the family and he never came back. So now Audie had to step up and be the man of the house and in order to do that he had to quit school.
So he never got farther than the fifth grade. But the person that was hardest hit in the family was his mother, Josie, and in 1941 she died of pneumonia. And he said her early death was not unusual in the story of a sharecropper family, particularly when the sharecropper himself runs off, leaving his wife to take care of their children. Anyway, so Audie was only 16. He had younger sisters and a brother to take care of and he couldn't take care of them because he had to work. So they were sent to an orphanage. And then everything changed.
Everything changed. Here's Murphy historian Michael West. Well, the time that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, December 7th, I believe Audie Murphy and Monroe Hackney were actually on a double date at a movie theater. And after they returned from the movie theater, they learned of course of the bombing. Well, immediately all the young men, or a number of young men chose to join. Well, that included Audie Murphy as well. Well, at that time, Audie was only about 17 and a half years old.
Plus he was plagued with that baby face. And immediately the recruiter recognized that he's too young. He tries Marines. They virtually laugh him out. He has visions of joining the paratroopers.
Well, that, that never works out. So finally he is just simply run off in essence and he doesn't join. So Audie's older sister Corinne got him a false birth certificate that showed he was a year older than he was. So after he turned 18, as it said on his birth certificate, he was actually only 17.
He went back and joined the army and he was accepted into the infantry. And what a story so far. I'd been a fan of the movie, but just didn't know, just didn't know the circumstances. My goodness, losing a father and a mother and then having kids orphaned living out of a boxcar.
And when we come back more on the life of Audie Murphy, this is Our American Stories. What is Circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent. A community.
It's meant to be inclusive. The globe. At Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the internet for fractions of a penny. And no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work.
Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Most TVs are smart nowadays, but with busy home screens and remotes with too many or too few buttons, smart shouldn't mean complicated. That's why Roku TV is the smart TV made easy. The customizable home screen puts your inputs streaming favorites like iHeart and free live TV all in one place from simple settings anyone can understand. Automatic updates with the latest features and much more. Roku TV is more than a smart TV.
It's a better TV. Learn more today at roku.com. Happy streaming. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series, Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not so secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassins versus Templars on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts. And we return to Our American Stories. We're telling the story of Audie Murphy and if you've never seen the movie To Hell and Back, it comes on TV all the time. This time, don't skip it. It's terrific and it should be a remake.
His life story should be a remake too so everybody today knows who Audie Murphy is. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history from war to innovation, culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. A place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't cut to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
Go to hillsdale.edu to learn more. Let's return to Greg Hengler and Audie's story. The army infantry was the most accepting of recruits who appeared to possess the least amount of skills needed for combat. Audie Murphy attended two boot camps before seeing any action and in both camps the army tried to protect the little recruit they nicknamed Baby.
They tried to put him in their post office and then their kitchen but Audie would have none of it. Nobody pushed him around. I mean he was impressively tough from the very beginning and he would literally push himself until he collapsed. The guys he met there at boot camp remembered that he was clearly in his element even though he was small stature, even though he was baby faced. And his superiors wanted to find some place for him that he might be a better fit because honestly he wasn't a good fit in the infantry until you got to know him. And he said absolutely not. I want to be in the infantry.
I want to march with this pack that's as big as I am and I'm gonna do it. And his superiors reluctantly let him stay but they made a good decision. Audie was assigned to Company B, the 15th Infantry Regiment, Third Division. No one could know that this poor tenant farmer's son would one day help to cause the demise of Hitler's promised thousand-year Reich by performing such wondrous deeds in battle that they seemed almost mythological.
Here's one of them. The first time he goes into combat with the Third Division is in the invasion of Sicily. And Laddie Tipton is a soldier in his company and they are extremely close. Laddie has an estranged wife and a daughter and Audie Murphy, I don't know if I want to say envies him for this, but Audie Murphy realizes how special this is to have a wife and a daughter because he doesn't have much in the way of family.
And he talks to Laddie about his daughter all the time and says, you know, you're gonna get back to see her, you're gonna get back to her, you're gonna be a great father. And then, you know, they come ashore in France together in August of 44 and they're fighting their way up this hill. He and Laddie, they're working their way up this hill in the face of a whole repeated series of German machine gun emplacements. And they get one German hock full to surrender to them and they wave a white flag. And Laddie says, okay, they're surrendering, we can go get them.
And Audie says, no, no, no, stay down, there are other people up there. And a German sniper from someplace else up on the hill hits Laddie in the head with a bullet and he collapses right down into Audie's lap. And he sort of, I don't want to say goes nuts, but he grabs the gun and just charges up this hill in and out of draws and in and out of hock holes. And then he gets the German gun and goes after other hock holes and he clears out that entire hillside. And everybody says, oh, that was the most courageous thing I had ever seen.
And he says, that wouldn't courage, that was just me being mad. And, you know, he goes back to Laddie to where his body is and he cries over him. It's just a heartbreaking scene, but it wins him his Distinguished Service Cross. The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award after the Medal of Honor. And that was one of the only two moments in Audie's life he openly admitted to crying, the other being the death of his mother. Here's Dr. Smith with the heroic act that would earn Audie Murphy the Congressional Medal of Honor and the respect and love of the United States of America.
The story of his Medal of Honor is probably the most impressive story that you may hear from World War II. He's in France. He's coming up to the German border. Wintertime, there's snow on the ground.
It's icy cold. And he's leading a couple of tanks and a platoon of soldiers southward toward a town. And from the town toward him comes a company of German soldiers, maybe more, maybe of Italian, and two tanks. What he has with him are a couple of things that look like tanks, but they're called tank destroyers.
They're faster, and they're lighter than tanks, and they're meant to be able to shoot tanks and then get away. But both of those things, both of those tank destroyers are knocked out of commission really early on in this firefight. And he realizes that without those tank destroyers to give his men cover, it's going to be incredibly hard for them to continue their push south across this snowy field. And he orders his men to start to fall back toward the forest. And he stays out at the front point of the position because he has a radio, and he's calling in artillery from the rear. And he's telling, you know, where to drop the artillery rounds.
And he was always very good at this, which serves him very well. And he's starting to pull back. And both of the tanks that are with him have been knocked out. And he realizes that if the Germans overrun this position that he has, they will go straight into the woods and straight to the headquarters of his company and overrun their entire position. And he realizes he's got to stay there as long as he can.
And as he's yelling into the radio, yelling coordinates, and he's sort of backing up. And then he realizes that over to his right, that the tank that's been knocked out of commission, and that the men inside are dead, he realizes that the.50 caliber gun up on the top of it, up on the turret, is still operable. And he climbs up on this tank. And he trains the gun on the Germans coming across the field toward him.
And the tank is burning, so it's producing a lot of smoke. And it masks his position. It gives him cover.
It's like a smokescreen. And he swivels back and forth with this.50 caliber, shooting at these German soldiers that are coming across the field and getting really close. Later, he said, I remember being up on there and the thought I had was, this is the first time my feet have been warm for three months. And across the radio comes the question, how close are they to your position? And his response is, if you'll just hold the line, I'll let you talk to one of them. And it gets to the point where the shells coming in and hitting are jarring him and kicking him around. They're hitting so close to him. And finally, they begin to pull back. And he realizes that the Germans are withdrawing. And he climbs down off this tank and he's shaking. And he walks over to a tree and he leans against the tree and he just slumps down to the ground. And right about that time, the tank he was standing on explodes.
And it blows that turret, you know, way up into the air and off into the woods. And the people who watched this, the people who filled out the reports for him, the eyewitness reports for him to get the Medal of Honor, said they had never even seen anything like it. They couldn't believe it. And they saw it. They couldn't believe it. And they saw it.
And when we come back, more of this remarkable story, Audie Murphy's story, here on Our American Stories, the final segment of this remarkable life, this remarkable man. What is Circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent. A community.
It's meant to be inclusive. A globe. At Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed, one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the internet for fractions of a penny. And no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work.
Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers, and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle.com slash podcast. Most TVs are smart nowadays, but with busy home screens and remotes with too many or too few buttons, smart shouldn't mean complicated. That's why Roku TV is the smart TV made easy. The customizable home screen puts your inputs, streaming favorites like iHeart and free live TV all in one place. From simple settings anyone can understand, automatic updates with the latest features and much more, Roku TV is more than a smart TV.
It's a better TV. Learn more today at roku.com. Happy streaming. Inspired by Ubisoft's famous video game series, Assassin's Creed, the Echoes of History podcast offers a deep and fascinating dive into history. In this season's Assassin versus Templars, these two organizations have a rich history that takes its root in the medieval era and the time of the crusades within the Assassin's Creed universe. Hosted by Dan Snow and Matt Lewis from History Hit, each episode offers us a history of these two not-so-secret societies. New episodes weekly.
Listen to Echoes of History, Assassin's versus Templars on iHeart or wherever you get your podcasts. And we continue with our American stories. Let's return to Greg Hengler and the final part of the Audie Murphy story. If you happen to end up in a foxhole with Audie Murphy, he was going to talk to you.
And what you might hear is not what you'd think. A little, a guy who's just scared to death all the time finds himself sitting in a foxhole with Audie Murphy. And Audie says to him, you know, don't be afraid to be scared. There's going to be times when you're scared to death. And then Audie tells this kid, I'm always scared when I'm at the front. And it's, it's the irony is that everybody else in the division says, when we hear that Audie Murphy's in the front, the rest of us in the rear can go to sleep and sleep well.
But Audie tells this kid, you know, there'll be times when you want to cry and it's okay to cry. I mean, Audie transforms very much over the course of his time as a soldier from someone who has nothing but disdain, you know, sort of like Patton style for people who can't take it and who break under combat to somebody who understands intimately how, how harrowing it is and what it can do to somebody. With attendance in the thousands, Murphy received his medal of honor in the Austrian city of Salzburg. Now this is in May of 45.
It's at an airfield just outside of Salzburg. He, he has the survivor's guilt already. Yes, he's, he's a brave soldier, but the guys who were killed, and he's always going to say this, those are the ones who deserve the medal. Those are the ones who deserve the honor. When you see the photographs of him standing there, you think this guy's just a kid.
Well, he, he sort of is. Thanks to Life magazine, putting Audie on its cover, he returned an American hero. I asked Dr. Smith to put into context what it meant to grace the cover of Life magazine in the 1940s. There's nothing today, and I think about this sometimes, I can't think of anything today that is analogous to Life magazine in 1945.
There's nothing that has the cultural centrality. There's nothing that in one magazine, in one photograph can make you a national icon. But Life magazine was like that. And Life magazine had heard about him, had heard about him coming back to Texas, had heard about the ceremonies that he had been through.
And they sent a photographer to do a photo essay in the little town of Farmersville in Greenville where he lived. But if you get that Life magazine, you open it up, you look through it and you see, oh man, you see a photograph of him getting his hair cut with a bunch of farmers looking in at him. But it's this cover and it shows him fresh-faced, looking like a high school football quarterback in a military uniform. He's evidently young. He looks, and I think this is important, he looks completely unscarred by his past.
He looks as fresh-faced as if he was fresh out of high school. And of course he's not. And you can't tell at all by looking that this guy killed 250 soldiers. This guy was shot repeatedly. This guy was 50% disabled according to the US Army.
And this guy's carrying around, already carrying around some terrible emotional baggage that's keeping him from sleeping at night. But there he is on the cover of Life magazine, looking like a Norman Rockwell figure come to life. One of Hollywood's biggest movie stars saw Audie Murphy on the cover of Life magazine and picked up the phone.
Here again is Joanne Mattern. There was a famous actor named Jimmy Cagney and Jimmy Cagney saw all the press about Audie, saw his picture and said, hey, this guy should be in the movies. So he invited Audie to come to Hollywood and try to be a movie star. And Audie even lived with him for a while. But his acting career didn't really take off.
So he ended up sleeping in a gym that a friend of his owned and kind of bounced around a little bit. But then in 1949, he wrote a book called To Hell and Back. And that was all about his experiences in the war. And the book was a huge bestseller and kind of got Hollywood's attention again. So he ended up making a few movies, mostly westerns, and he didn't care for westerns. He felt like every movie had the same plot as the last movie he did. And one of my favorite quotes, he said it that in westerns, the faces are the same and so is the dialogue, only the horses are changed.
And what happened though, after he was doing these movies and kind of, you know, plugging along, To Hell and Back was a huge bestseller. And Universal Studios decided to make it into a movie. And they wanted Audie to star as himself.
And Audie said no. He said, I don't want the public to think I'm trying to be famous by saying, look at me, I'm a war hero. But eventually he changed his mind because he felt that he could show how brave all the soldiers were who had fought, who had died, and kind of do a tribute to them through the movie. And he also wanted to make sure the movie was as realistic as possible. And starring in it meant that he could have some say in, you know, how the battles were staged and the uniforms and how the actors behaved as the soldiers.
So he ended up doing it. The movie came out in 1955. It was a huge hit. It was actually Universal Studios' highest earning movie until 1975 when the movie Jaws came out. And it was the high point of Audie's acting career.
He went on and did some movies and some television after that, but that was really the high point. But while this, all this was going on off screen, it was very difficult for him. Nowadays, we would understand that he had post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in battle.
But during the 50s and the 60s, that term didn't exist yet, and people weren't really aware of it. So Audie actually, in the 60s, he started to speak out about how he felt that, you know, he had trouble sleeping. Every time he heard a loud noise, he would jump.
He slept with a gun under his pillow. When he went out in public, when he was driving down the road, he was constantly looking for danger, you know, looking for something to jump out at him. And he said during the 60s, when he was speaking out, he said, to be trained to kill and then come back into civilian life and be alone in the crowd, it takes an awful long time to get over it. But he tried to help others through his experiences.
Here's Audie's friend, film director Bud Baedeker, on Audie's struggle with PTSD. He called me one day and he said, I'm sitting here with my.45, the picture's in good shape, don't worry about a thing, I'm going to blow my brains out. And I had two seconds and I said, that's really great. He said, what do you mean? I said, why don't you do that? He said, what do you mean? I said, do it for every kid in the country who thinks you're the greatest fellow who ever lived. That'll make everybody in the United States.
Go ahead and pull the trigger. He said, you son of a b**** and he hung up. Audie's life clearly defined who he was and what he stood for. His death was no different. In 1971, Audie Murphy was flying on a small plane and the plane crashed and he was killed.
He was 45 years old. And because he was a war veteran and a hero, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. And generally, if you are a Medal of Honor winner, your gravestone at Arlington, the lettering is done in gold trim. It's very sparkly.
It's very eye-catching. And Audie didn't want that. He just has a plain gravestone and it just lists his name. It's very plain, very brief. Doesn't really give any indication of what a hero he was. And he's the second most visited grave at Arlington Cemetery.
The first one being President John Kennedy's grave is the most popular and Audie's number two. American news anchor Tom Brokaw wrote the introduction from Murphy's autobiography to Hell and Back. Here's how he concludes. I was first aware of Murphy as a war hero. He was on the cover of Life magazine when I was a youngster. Not long before his untimely death in an airplane accident, I was working in California when Audie Murphy came back into the news. A woman friend of his had sent her dog to a trainer and she wasn't happy with the results.
As I recall, she asked Audie to intervene. He visited the dog trainer who then complained to the police that Murphy had shot at him. The local police brought Murphy in for questioning and when Murphy was released without charges, a large number of reporters were outside the police station. Murphy agreed to take a few questions. One of the reporters asked, Audie, did you shoot at the guy? Audie Murphy, the most decorated combat veteran of World War II, stared at his interrogator for a moment and then said in that familiar Texas voice, if I had, you think I would have missed? I love that moment and all that Audie Murphy stood for as a citizen, a soldier, and a hero. Tom Brokaw. And great job on that, Greg.
And again, 250 confirmed kills. One man. Humble beginnings.
Humble in birth and humble in death. This is Lee Habibi, Bonnie Murphy's story, here on Our American Stories. I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere.
And you know what scares me? That feeling of finding myself stuck on the side of the road. But now all of us can avoid that pain by getting our vehicle the part it needs before that breakdown oh no moment. With eBay Guaranteed Fit and over 122 million parts and accessories, you can make sure your ride stays running smoothly. For the parts and accessories that fit your vehicle, just look for the green check. Get the right parts, the right fit, and the right prices.
eBayMotors.com. Let's ride. Eligible items only. Exclusions apply. All-inclusive vacations make life easy with endless eats, bottomless drinks, and never-ending fun. So booking an all-inclusive vacation should be easy too, right? That's where Apple Vacations comes in. Book your all-inclusive getaway with Apple Vacations and receive exclusive perks at select resorts.
You'll find the best deals to sun and sand destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean and enjoy a selection of exclusive non-stop vacation flights. Turn on easy mode at AppleVacations.com or call your local travel advisor to get started. You wouldn't settle for watching a blurry TV, would you? So why settle for just okay TV sound? Upgrade your streaming and sound all in one with Roku Stream Bar. This powerful 2-in-1 upgrade for any TV lets you stream your favorite entertainment in brilliant 4K HDR picture and hear every detail with auto speech clarity. Whether you're hosting a party or just cleaning the house, turn it up and rock out with iHeartRadio and room-filling sound. Learn more about Roku Stream Bar today at roku.com. Happy streaming!
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-13 04:13:17 / 2023-04-13 04:30:08 / 17