1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
MEDAL OF HONOR
Company B 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Photo from the PBS website
Note: Macario Garcia's first
name is often misspelled as Marcario. It will be seen originally
misspelled as such in
a number of the outside articles and clippings etc. presented in the following pages. The correct spelling is Macario.
Macario Garcia was born on
January 2, 1920 in Villa de Castaño, Mexico, to farm workers
Luciano and Josefa García.
Macario was one of ten children born to Luciano and Josefa. In 1924, Garcia's family immigrated to the United States
in search of a better way of life. They settled in Waelder, Texas, a small town in Gonzales County between San Antonio
and Houston. In 1935 they moved to Sugar Land, Texas where Garcia worked as a cotton farmer.
came from a poor family and was a migrant farm worker for most of
his early childhood. Education was
a luxury that most migrant families went without. They needed every able body with hands working the fields.
Macario often missed school and only achieved the equivalent of a 3rd grade education. It was not uncommon
for Hispanic migrant workers to receive a limited education before having to work full time. Once a migrant worker
could read and write, and do arithmetic, their education was considered complete. Military records indicate that he
earned seven dollars a week as a farm laborer and could speak, read, and write in both English and Spanish. ¹
Garcia was working on the Paul
Schumann Ranch near Sugar Land when he was drafted into the army
on November 11, 1942.
He served in the contintental United States until April 1944 when he shipped overseas to England and became a replacement
in the 4th Infantry Division. He was assigned to Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division and fought in
France, Belgium and Germany. For his actions on November 27, 1944 he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Macario Garcia in uniform
Photo from the Houston Press
Garcia received the Medal of
Honor with twenty-seven other soldiers at a White House ceremony
on August 23, 1945 presided over by President Harry S. Truman.
On September 10, 1945 Garcia was
refused service in a Texas cafe because of his Hispanic
He argued and fought with the cafe owner and charges were brought against him. In what was one of the
country's first major civil rights confrontations of the late 1940's and early 1950's the charges against Garcia were
eventually dropped amid national attention and he thus became one of the 20th Century's early civil rights pioneers.
Above: The petition to
become an American citizen filed by Macario Garcia on December
Macario Garcia's signature is in the lower right hand corner.
From Records of District Courts
of the United States, Record Group 21; The National Archives at
Fort Worth, TX
García became an American
citizen on June 25, 1947 under Section 701 of the Nationality Act
of 1940 which exempted certain
alien servicemen who served in the U.S. military outside the continental limits of the United States during World War II from
some of the usual requirements for naturalization, providing their petitions for naturalization were filed no later than December 31, 1946.
Newspaper clipping announcing
From the LULAC Council 60 website
Newspaper clipping announcing
From The Abilene Reporter-News
Garcia earned a high school
diploma in 1951. "Macario attended high school during the
and earned his diploma from Sam Houston High School." ²
On May 18, 1952, he married Alicia Reyes with whom he had three children.
Macario and Alicia
Garcia and their three children Maria, Rene and Carlos
Photo taken December 2, 1961
Photo from the Houston Chronicle
In 1947 Garcia became employed
by the Veterans' Administration. For twenty-five years he worked
as a counselor
and contact officer for that organization.
Macario Garcia died on December
24, 1972, from injuries he received in a car accident in Houston,
He was buried with full military honors in the Houston National Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
Article from The Victoria Advocate, Victoria Texas Tuesday December 26, 1972
EULOGY AT THE GRAVESIDE CEREMONIES FOR MACARIO GARCIA, C.M.H.
VETERAN'S ADMINSITRATION CEMETERY, HOUSTON, TEXAS, DECEMBER 27, 1972
BY JOHN J. HERRERA
|Honorable clergy, Distinguished guests, members of
the Macario Garcia family
ladies and gentlemen.
On Christmas Eve, this last December 24th, 1972 at 6.50 P.M. death came as it must
come to all men, to Macario Garcia, C.M.H. at Sugarland, Texas, and 37 hours later
the same call came to HARRY S. TRUMAN, the 33rd President of the United States,
from Independence, Missouri. There was a great parallel between both of these men.
1. Both were from small towns in the United States
2. Both served honorably in wars in behalf and for the United Staes
3. Both had as the same epitaph: "I did what had to be done".
Here you had two men from humble beginnings. At the start little was expected of them.
But when the call came to Macario Garica, as it did to Harry S. Truman, they rose to the
challenge & met it head on and they both lived to know that what they did was right.
So here in the great melting pot that is America, these two Americans from different heritages
and backgrounds, far apart when they started in life, somehow met and together made the same
decision, to meet any challenge and adversity and not to shirk the duty that was theirs, and theirs
alone to fulfill as was expected of them. Even at the time when "their souls were sorely tried"
They did not give up, but faced the enemy and the problem and came out with colors flying.
So death the great equalizer, finally came as it must always to all; the exalted and the humble.
Even though before their mortal end came they became among the most exalted of men; and they
never forgot it, and they would never let anyone forget it.
Macario Garcia was made in the best traditions of the country of his birth, and of his ancestors,
Mexico, and of his adopted country, the United States for which he was willing to offer and give
his last measure of devotion, all of this, as a private infantryman in the United states Army; as a
winner of the Congressional medal of Honor and finally as a counselor in the Veteran's Administration
of the United States.
In comparing the great parallel of these two great Americans today I am reminded of the words of
Rudyard Kipling, when he wrote of two other great men with these words:
"FOR THERE IS NEITHER BORDER, NOR BREED, NOR BIRTH...WHEN TWO STRONG
MEN STAND...FACE TO FACE...THOUGH THEY COME FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH"
The graveside service at the funeral for Macario Garcia December 27, 1972
Photo from the Houston Chronicle
The grave of Macario Garcia
Photo by Bob Babcock,
¹ From an article by Chris Fernandez posted on the Dream Act-Texas website
² From a Geocities website Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia
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