As we prepare to recognize and honor those who gave their all during the attack on Pearl Harbor 82 years ago, let us remember a real American hero who emerged - and happened to be from Texas. I learned about real-life hero Doris Miller when I was in junior high.

Doris "Dorie" Miller, an African-American man born in Waco, was raised on his dad's farm. After graduating high school, Miller enlisted in the United States Navy in 1939. The history of Miller is directly associated with the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It was his brave, deliberate actions that got him recognized as a war hero.

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Miller was serving as a mess hall attendant on the USS West Virginia, stationed at Pearl Harbor. When the ship came under attack by the Japanese, Miller went above and beyond his assigned military duties. He ran to the top deck of the ship that was on fire and went to work. See more in the video below.

Historians and U.S. Navy officials say Miller had no training at all in manning the anti-aircraft machine gun that was mounted on the deck of the ship. He took hold of the machine gun and began firing at the incoming Japanese aircraft.

His actions are responsible for shooting down one aircraft, and he is credited with keeping other aircraft away, thus saving the lives of fellow sailors. Miller's bravery and courage during the attack earned him widespread recognition. He was the first Black American to be awarded the honorable Navy Cross.

Miller was killed on assignment to the USS Liscome Bay, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine torpedo in early November 1943 at the Battle of Makin.

For decades I have said to anyone who will listen that we need to recognize Doris Miller by naming a military installation and/or ship in his honor. In 2020, the U.S. Navy revealed that the aircraft carrier CVN-81 currently being built will be named the USS Doris Miller. Thank you God, amen.

This December 7th remember to thank those who are responsible for the freedoms we enjoy today.

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