Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Presents the Purple Heart to Ricardo Palacios III

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, November 08, 2012  •  Austin, Texas  •  Speech

In every generation, the United States has been blessed with individuals ready to step forward and place themselves on the line between the American people, and those who would cause us harm.

Over the years, these brave warriors consistently fought for liberty and freedom, and brought hope to untold millions the world over.

There was the generation of my father, the Greatest Generation, who turned back the forces of evil in Europe, and conquered unchecked aggression in the South Pacific.

We have another member of that generation with us today, Ricardo Palacios Jr., a Purple Heart recipient and POW survivor, and father of the man we're honoring this afternoon.

At the time of my youth, another generation of warriors was sent to fight overseas, and faced an unjust reception upon their return home.

These heroes fought and bled for our country and our ideals...just like the generations before them, even if, at the time, our nation was far from unified in its regard for those who served.

Thankfully, we've come to realize the error of our ways, and today appropriately celebrate the members of our military for what they do on our behalf.

Today we recognize that there is no higher form of public service than wearing the uniform of one's country

While there are many forms of giving back to your community, to me, those who face incoming fire to set other people free exist on an entirely different level.

In addition, among the most solemn and meaningful honors that can be presented to a member of our country's armed forces is the Purple Heart.

This award represents true sacrifice, and goes to our most valiant warriors who placed themselves in harm's way for the good of country and comrade.

Today, we are honoring a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Ricardo Palacios III enlisted in the military in 1970, training to transport supplies and munitions in combat situations.

In 1971, Mr. Palacios was in an Army gun truck on a mission, when he and his fellow soldiers fell under attack by enemy forces.

A rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle, and in the resulting destruction, Mr. Palacios suffered major burns to both hands.

It's taken a bit of time to get from that point to today, and I'd like to congratulate both Mr. Palacios and commend Victor Polanco, a Texas Veterans Commission claims counselor who worked hard to locate and assemble the medical documentation and eyewitness statements required for the Army to reconsider and rightfully present Mr. Palacios with the Purple Heart.

And now, 41 years after he suffered his injuries, it is my privilege and my humbling honor, to present Mr. Ricardo Palacios III with the Purple Heart.


Texas Governor Rick Perry presents the Purple Heart to Vietnam Veteran Ricardo Palacios, III at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, TX on November 8th, 2012
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