Among some of his less-remembered acts as governor, George W. Bush declared June 20th an official Texas state holiday back in 1999, honoring Audie Murphy. From meager beginnings as a North Texas plowboy to World War II's most highly-decorated American soldier, Murphy led a life of immense acclaim as a war hero turned Hollywood star, but the demons of combat followed him for the rest of his often tragic, short life which ended in a plane crash in 1971 at the age of 46. The city of Farmersville - one of several small farming communities in North Texas that Murphy called home before enlisting in the Army in 1942 - holds an annual celebration, with festivities this year on June 23.
It's a complicated story with blood, glory and celebrity, set to a country music soundtrack. There are pills, medals and Hollywood scripts, all culminating in a fiery crash. It is the inexplicable story of a simple North Texas boy who ended up "just like the movies."
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