Honoring Medal of Honor recipients of the Texas Panhandle

Hometown Heroes

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — March 25 is Medal of Honor Day, and the Texas Panhandle War Memorial celebrates our local recipients with a wall dedicated to their memory.

“The purpose of the Medal of Honor Day is so we won’t forget their heroism. So every year we can remember them and if they’re still living, thank them for their service,” said Melissa Kalka, the associate director for the Texas Panhandle War Memorial.

Medal of Honor Day was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

“They did such acts of heroism that they deserve to be recognized,” said Kalka.

She said the day helps us remember what they have done to help preserve our freedom by the gallantry they displayed in their courage and sacrifice.

The way the Texas Panhandle War Memorial honors our local Medal of Honor recipients is with an honor wall.

“We talk about them. Everyone that tours our Texas Panhandle War Memorial center here, we talk about them. We tell their story. It’s something that we try to help promote so people won’t forget about them here, too,” said Kalka.

Those honored are:

William “Billy” Dixon plus 5 others*:

  • The Battle of Buffalo Wallow
  • From Hemphill County.

Charles H. Roan:

  • WWII
  • From Claude, Texas
  • The namesake of the Ussery Roan Texas State Veterans Home in Amarillo.

John C. “Red” Morgan:

  • WWII
  • Attended Amarillo College and West Texas State College. 
  • The movie “12 O’clock High” was made from his story.

Thomas E. Creek:

  • Vietnam
  • The namesake of the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center in Amarillo.

*Also Honored

  • Amos Chapman
  • Peter Paul Roth
  • George W. Smith
  • Zachariah T. Woodall
  • John Harrington

“Amarillo is a great place that honors veterans. We have a lot of veterans in the Panhandle,” said Kalka. It’s a wonderful place to always thank our veterans, honor our veterans, and never let them forget that we appreciate their service.”

Kalka said the war memorial center was briefly closed due to the pandemic but has been reopened for a few months for tours.

“We have an education center here that tells about our 11 wars and conflicts that the United States had been in. It’s a great learning tool for the kids today that sometimes don’t get that in their history classes, for them to learn and know what our military has done for our country through all the years,” Kalka said. “We have our memorial garden with monoliths that honor the veterans that were killed in the line of duty from all top 26 counties of the Panhandle. So it’s definitely for the panhandle, not just Amarillo.”

The Texas Panhandle War Memorial Center is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the center, click here.

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