Editor's note - We received this heartfelt letter to the editor. It's from a visitor to Madisonville and very fitting for Memorial Day and the times we are in.
A few years ago, I traveled from North Carolina to Texas to visit some college friends.
At that time, they were living in Madisonville, Texas, a small town located halfway between Dallas & Houston. As I observed various sites upon my first visit, I noticed a former store with large lettering on the front of the building...."Truman Kimbro Community Center." I asked a number of people in the small town of 5,000..."Who Was Truman Kimbro?"
Surprisingly, numerous people could not provide the answer to my repeated question. Smart phones had not entered the scene at that time, so I was limited to the acquired knowledge of my walking tour.
Being a history buff, I visited the Madison County museum located a few blocks away. A large number of artifacts on Texas Rangers, Longhorn Steers, as well as other cultural exhibits were on display in this former town bank.
I quickly noticed a soldier's uniform on display in the center of the room...and there is where I found the answer to my inquiry... World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient: Truman Kimbro was working as a farm hand in Texas when he enlisted in the United States Army on December 2, 1941. He was sent with his company to Belgium, where in 1944 he was killed while performing his assigned mission under heavy enemy fire. Five months later he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. The citation reads: "On 19 December 1944, as scout, he led a squad assigned to the mission of mining a vital crossroads near Rocherath, Belgium. At the first attempt to reach the objective, he discovered it was occupied by an enemy tank and at least 20 infantrymen. Driven back by withering fire, Technician 4th Grade Kimbro made 2 more attempts to lead his squad to the crossroads but all approaches were covered by intense enemy fire. Although warned by our own infantrymen of the great danger involved, he left his squad in a protected place and, laden with mines, crawled alone toward the crossroads. When nearing his objective he was severely wounded, but he continued to drag himself forward and laid his mines across the road. As he tried to crawl from the objective his body was riddled with rifle and machine gun fire. The mines laid by his act of indomitable courage delayed the advance of enemy armor and prevented the rear of our withdrawing columns from being attacked by the enemy". My heart was greatly inspired by reading this citation.
Yet, as an American patriot, I was extremely saddened because so many people in his small hometown did not know his story. While in this East Texas town, I was privileged to speak to the High School Football Team that my college friend’s son played linebacker for during his senior year.
As part of my pre-game speech, I posed the question to the football team, "Who Was Truman Kimbro?" None of the 50+ Madisonville Mustangs knew the answer either.
I then shared the inspiring story and read his Medal of Honor citation, challenging them to play to their potential with a maximum effort.
The Mustangs won their district game in a high-scoring manner, 62-48. I left Madisonville, Texas a few days later, after a memorable visit with my college friends. Every Memorial Day weekend, I think back to the uniform on display in the Madison County Museum...
I will remain an Ambassador of this Man of Valor... We salute you, Truman Kimbro...