FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2023
As Texans, it is important that we remember and celebrate the remarkable contributions of our state's heroes. One such individual is Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a trailblazing figure whose legacy continues to inspire generations. In 2009, I authored and passed legislation designating the third Wednesday in September as Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day through Senate Bill 495. The bill authorized the observance of the day by schools and state agencies to honor Dr. Garcia and teach our younger generations about his legacy.
Dr. Garcia's life story is one of extraordinary service and unwavering dedication. His military service during World War II as a U.S. Army medical officer exemplified his commitment to defending our nation's values. His bravery and sacrifice earned him numerous accolades, including the Bronze Star for his “outstanding diligence and loyalty to duty.”
Dr. Garcia's impact extended far beyond the battlefield. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for his tireless advocacy for civil rights and his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of all Americans.
Education was a cause particularly close to Dr. Garcia's heart. He firmly believed that "Education is our Freedom, and Freedom should be Everybody's Business," a quote that not only served as his personal motto but also became the motto of the American GI Forum. This powerful statement captured his belief that education is the cornerstone of empowerment and that it is the responsibility of every individual to ensure that freedom and education are accessible to all.
In 1948, Dr. Garcia co-founded the American G.I. Forum, an organization dedicated to addressing the concerns of Mexican American veterans. Through this platform, he fought against discrimination, advocating for equal access to education, healthcare, and voting rights. Dr. Garcia's unwavering commitment to justice led him to challenge the segregation of schools, hospitals, and public spaces, paving the way for a more inclusive Texas.
Dr. Garcia embodies the spirit of selflessness and public service. As a private American citizen, he exercised his constitutional rights to elevate awareness about the plight of neglected Americans. As a physician, he provided access to medical care to underserved communities. As a soldier, he demonstrated valor and sacrifice as he fought to protect our liberties. Dr. Garcia never wavered in his commitment to the United States Constitution and equality for all.
The impact of Dr. Garcia’s service and legacy on Texas cannot be overstated. His unwavering commitment to civil rights, education, and equality has left an indelible mark on our state's history. By designating the third Wednesday of September as Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day, we ensure that future generations are aware of his remarkable contributions.
As we embark on Hispanic Heritage Month, let us take this opportunity to reflect on the invaluable contributions of Hispanic Americans like Dr. Garcia. Let us remember Dr. Hector P. Garcia's legacy, honor his service, and strive to follow his unwavering dedication to education and equality. By doing so, we ensure that his legacy continues to shape the future of Texas for generations to come.