FARMERSVILLE — A year ago, Master Sgt. Adele Warner enjoyed the warm reception she and her fellow soldiers got at the Audie Murphy Day celebration in this small northeast Texas town.
She told herself then she was “definitely coming back” next year. Warner fulfilled her pledge June 22 when she and two other members of Fort Hood’s Sergeant Audie Murphy Club — chapter vice president Sgt. Dave Burroughs and Sgt. Jose Hernandez — helped honor the club’s namesake in his hometown. Murphy was born June 20, 1925, near Farmersville.
Every June, the town, with a population of some 3,400 located about 200 miles northeast of Fort Hood, honors its Medal of Honor recipient and all U.S. veterans with a parade, a program and a free lunch.
For the second year in a row, the post’s Sergeant Audie Murphy Club chapter participated in the celebration. Warner, the chapter’s treasurer, said more members would have made the journey, but several were involved in a field training exercise over the weekend.
The three soldiers who did make the three-hour trip got up early — Warner said she got out of bed at 5 a.m. — and arrived in time to ride in the town’s midmorning parade for veterans.
As they rolled through downtown Farmersville, the three soldiers, wearing Sergeant Audie Murphy Club T-shirts, and other veterans were greeted by cheering, waving spectators, many of whom wore red, white and blue hats and shirts and held American flags.
After the parade and throughout the rest of the celebration, many well-wishers — including other veterans — shook the soldiers’ hands, and thanked them for their service to the nation and for coming to Farmersville.
“I love being around veterans and talking to them,” Hernandez said. “I really appreciate that they come by to say thank you.”
The community’s outpouring of support for veterans impressed the three visiting soldiers.
The country respected soldiers “in my grandfather’s day,” Burroughs said.
“Soldiers were seen as good people. ... America has gotten away from that these days. ... But this small town — these people have it right,” said Burroughs, who’s from Philadelphia.
Another thrill for the soldiers was meeting and presenting a club T-shirt to Audie Murphy’s only surviving sibling, Nadine Murphy Lokey, after the program ended.
All three soldiers said they had volunteered to come to Farmersville and were glad they came.
Hernandez said: “At our meetings, they let us know about upcoming events. ... When I heard about this, I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
Burroughs said: “I came here out of respect for the club and Audie Murphy.”