Sept. 20 commemorated the legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a Mexican-American civil rights leader who founded the American GI forum and fought for the rights of Hispanics in this country.
In 2009, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa designated the third Wednesday in September as 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. Senator Hinojosa also passed a resolution naming a portion of State Highway 286 the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway in Corpus Christi.
Dr. Hector P. Garcia was a legendary physician and World War II Veteran who fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans who were denied educational, medical and housing opportunities. A man who served and advocated for the most vulnerable and underserved portions in our communities, he reminds us that serving our community is an act of selflessness.
Hinojosa commented on the value of commemorating Dr. Garcia's contributions:
"It is important that our Texas youths learn about an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to public service and who broke down the barriers that existed at the time. Dr. Garcia made a significant difference in the freedoms we now enjoy and was able to advance the interests of Hispanics, even in the highest levels of government.
Dr. Garcia embodies the spirit of selflessness and public service. As a private American citizen, Dr. Garcia 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 left us a legacy and his memory serves as lessons to us all."
Dr. Garcia received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and earned a Bronze Star for his military service and six battle stars while protecting our way of life. He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and served as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.