A Korean War veteran from Brooks County received a Congressional Gold Medal on Monday. Antonio Muniz is using his honor to make sure those who made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered.
Muniz served as an Army combat medic in some of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War. A ceremony at the Brooks County Courthouse replaced a ceremony in Washington, D.C. that Muniz couldn’t attend.
Congress awarded the 65th Infantry Regiment with gold medals.
The unit known as “Boringqueneers” was a group of Puerto Rican soldiers who fought the last battalion-sized bayonet assault in Army history. Muniz served alongside them.
Muniz couldn’t make it to Washington, D.C. to receive his medal.
“I think it's better to be here in front of my people, my community,” he said.
State Representative Terry Canales handed over the award, along with a proclamation from the state of Texas.
Fellow veteran and State Senator Chuy Hinojosa showed his support, as well.
“I’m here to honor, and I'm very grateful for all our soldiers, our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, neighbors and friends, who have died for our country and fought for our freedom,” Hinojosa said.
“This award has been awarded to very few, and so I am very honored,” Muniz said. “But I say the ones that should be honored the most are the ones who made ultimate sacrifice. Those are the ones who are supposed to be honored, not me.”
Muniz said he doesn’t like to remember the things he saw during the war. His family knows those memories still haunt him.
“He didn't talk too much about it at all. He keeps a lot of that stuff to himself,” said Tony Muniz, Antonio Muniz’s son.
Amidst the celebration is a somber reminder. Muniz hopes no one forgets those who aren’t alive to celebrate their bravery.
“I’m just beyond lucky that by the grace of God I'm here. (I) don't take anything for granted,” Antonio Muniz said.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor a civilian can receive from Congress. George Washington received the first one. Since then, hundreds of people and organizations have received it.