Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
Medal Recipient's Portrait
Now Has a Description of His Deeds
Kevin Fujii / ChronicleAlice Garcia is hugged by her grandson, Carlos Macario Garcia, 6, under a portrait of her late husband, Medal of Honor recipient Macario Garcia. Garcia's granddaughter, Alicia, 5, and Fort Bend County Judge Jim Adolphus joined her for the unveiling of a plaque to go with the portrait.
By ERIC HANSON
RICHMOND -- For five years, the portrait of a young soldier with a Medal of Honor draped around his neck has hung in the rotunda of the Fort Bend County courthouse.
Kevin Fujii / Chronicle Alice Garcia is hugged by her grandson, Carlos Macario Garcia, 6, under a portrait of her late husband, Medal of Honor recipient Macario Garcia. Garcia's granddaughter, Alicia, 5, and Fort Bend County Judge Jim Adolphus joined her for the unveiling of a plaque to go with the portrait.
The only inscription accompanying the painting was, "Sgt. Macario Garcia, Congressional Medal of Honor."
Two county officials decided something more was needed, and on Monday, a plaque describing how Garcia earned his nation's highest military honor was unveiled in a Veterans Day ceremony attended by family members and friends.
"A lot of people do not know the history behind Macario Garcia's Medal of Honor," said the county's district attorney, John Healey.
Garcia received the honor for his one-man attack that destroyed two German machine gun emplacements during World War II.
Healey and County Judge Jim Adolphus felt a description of Garcia's combat achievements should be installed next to the painting.
When the painting was first displayed in the courthouse in 1982, it hung near the front entrance, which is seldom used.
"It was a shame it was in a place that few people ever walked by," Healey said.
In 1997, Healey and Adolphus, who was then a justice of the peace, asked County Judge Mike Rozell to move it to the rotunda where more people could see it.
Although it was in a more prominent place, the picture was not accompanied by a written description of Garcia's actions.
"We believed that the portrait standing alone was only half of the process of bringing recognition to this Medal of Honor winner," Healey said.
Healey said he believed it was simply an oversight that the portrait was never displayed with a written account of Garcia's battlefield heroism.
Adolphus said Garcia, who died in a traffic accident in 1972, is the only person from Fort Bend County to receive the Medal of Honor.
Inscribed on the plaque is the citation that was read by President Truman when he presented the medal to Garcia in a White House ceremony in August 1945.
The road that took Garcia from the cotton fields of Sugar Land to the White House was long and difficult.
He was born in Villa de Castano, Mexico, in 1920, and when he was a child he moved with his family to Sugar Land, where they worked as sharecroppers.
He joined the Army in November 1942, and after basic training and a stateside assignment, he was shipped to France a few days after the D-Day invasion in June 1944.
On Nov. 27, near Grosshau, Germany, his unit came under intense machine gun and artillery fire. Garcia crawled forward and single-handedly assaulted a German machine gun emplacement and knocked it out.
He was wounded in the attack, but a few minutes later a second machine gun began firing and he again attacked the emplacement, killing three of the enemy and capturing four more.
"He fought on with his unit until the objective was taken and only then did he permit himself to be removed for medical care," part of the citation reads.
The installation of the plaque is the latest honor recognizing Garcia. Two Houston-area schools, a street, a park in Richmond and a U.S. Army facility have been named for him.
His widow, Alice Garcia, helped unveil the plaque and said it will help others understand the accomplishments of her husband and other veterans.
"It was something that was needed. Now people will know more about what he did," she said.
© 2002, by The Houston Chronicle
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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