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Heroism on the High Seas

Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

A Waco sailor receives a great honor. On land you can honor your crape myrtles by leaving them untouched. And Texas ceased being a nation 175 years ago.

Doris Miller, a mess attendant known as Dorie, was collecting laundry aboard the battleship USS West Virginia when the Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After firing on Japanese planes and saving shipmates’ lives, he was one of the last sailors to leave the sinking ship.

Bettman | Getty Images

Valor Carries On

The name of Doris Miller, a U.S. Navy mess attendant from Willow Grove, near Waco, who became a hero during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, lives on in schools, roads and community centers around the country.

In 11 years the USS Doris Miller will take to the seas as the first supercarrier named for an African American and the first named for an enlisted sailor.

Miller fired an anti-aircraft gun at attacking Japanese aircraft and then pulled shipmates out of the burning water. He perished in 1943 aboard an escort carrier torpedoed in the Pacific Ocean.

Worth Repeating

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”
—Thurgood Marshall

No Crapes of Wrath

Just a friendly reminder to resist all temptation to commit crape murder this month. Prune crape myrtles gently—or not at all.

Our February 2020 story Crape Murder explains it all. Many gardeners drastically saw off the trees’ limbs, thinking it the proper treatment for beautiful blooms later in the summer. Not so.

“The prettiest ones I’ve seen have never been touched,” says horticulturist Greg Grant. “And I mean never.”

End of the Republic

This month marks 175 years since the formal transfer of authority in Texas from the republic to the state.

The U.S. Congress accepted the Texas Constitution on December 29, 1845, which marked Texas’ legal entry into the union. On February 19, 1846, the last president of Texas, Anson Jones, turned over the reins of government to Gov. James Pinckney Henderson.

“The final act in this great drama is now performed,” Jones declared. “The Republic of Texas is no more.”

February 18 Is National Drink Wine Day

Texas has more than 500 wineries, according to the National Association of American Wineries. Only four states have more.

Living Large

Last July, Austin became the 11th American city and fourth in Texas —joining Houston, San Antonio and Dallas—with a population exceeding 1 million. The last U.S. city to hit 1 million people was San Jose, California, in 2015.

Faraway Fairway

Alan Shepard, one of NASA’s original astronauts, accomplished two space firsts—one of them 50 years ago. In 1961 he flew on a Mercury spacecraft to become the first American in space. On February 6, 1971, as part of Apollo 14, he became the first and only person to hit a golf ball on the moon when he whacked two of them into the lunar distance.

He used a 6-iron club head he attached to a soil sampler. Because of the moon’s low gravity, it’s possible to hit a golf ball for miles. But Shepard, swinging one-handed in a bulky spacesuit, figured his best shot went about 200 yards.