Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Dedicates State Cemetery Memorial to Honor World War II Hero

Honors sacrifice of past and present military

Monday, May 31, 2004  •  Press Release

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry commemorated Memorial Day by dedicating a new state cemetery monument to a Texas hero of World War II and urging all Texans to pay tribute to the sacrifices of all past and present military.

"All who cherish freedom should salute the men and women in uniform who protect our freedom today, and who fought for it in years past," Perry said. "It is a day to raise the flag, renew the bonds of family and friendship, and pray for the safety and security of our troops abroad, and the tough days that lie ahead."

Perry joined with the family of Col. Thomas Christian Jr. to officially dedicate a monument in the Army commander and pilot's name. Christian, a veteran of more than 70 combat missions, served in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II, where he fought in Guadalcanal and D Day battles. The recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart disappeared in August 1944 outside of Arras, France.

A California native who called Sulphur Springs, Texas, home, Christian was previously honored with a cenotaph in the Texas State Cemetery and a memorial built by French in Arras.

"Col. Christian did not leave this earth without enshrining his own military legacy of courage in the memories of the men he fought with, and those he liberated," Perry said.

Perry also spoke of the need to remember what was sacrificed by our nation's fallen, but also why. Reminding those in attendance that many American troops "wake up every day in a war zone," Perry stressed that battles for freedom and liberty will continue as long as they are threatened.

"The cause of freedom goes forward," Perry said. "It is not decided on just one battlefield, or in just one war, because it must always be preserved."

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