September 19, Third Wednesday in September is Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day in Texas
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas –September 19 was the third Wednesday in September the day set aside by the Texas state legislature to commemorate Dr. Hector P. Garcia. Dr. Garcia, the founder of the American GI Forum (AGIF) spent his life fighting for the rights of Hispanic Veterans and their families in this country. For this lifetime of dedication Dr. Garcia was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country's highest civilian honor from President Ronald Regan. Young Dr. Garcia was an army veteran who served during WWII as a soldier and later as a medical doctor. Garcia earned a Bronze Star and six battle stars for his military service.
In 2009, the Texas State Legislature designated the third Wednesday in September as Dr. 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. Dr. Garcia had been honored before in many ways. He has had U.S. Post Offices, Public Schools, Hospital wings and a National Guard Armory named in his honor. In Corpus Christi Texas, a portion of State Highway 286 was named Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway.
After returning from WWII, Dr. Garcia, a physician founded the American GI Forum to help Mexican-American Veterans fight for their rights that were being denied by the VA, including pensions, their educational, medical and housing benefits and most importantly job opportunities.
Dr. Garcia together with other Mexican-American AGIF Veterans fought for voting rights, against discrimination in public schools, housing, jobs and fought for the underserved, for the right of all citizens to be given the same opportunities and rights. They fought the Courts for the right of fair trials by juries of their peers. Garcia and his teams fought hard, taking a case all the way to the supreme court fighting and winning equal justice system reforms.
Dr. Garcia, a true American, served in many capacities including ambassador to the United Nations, as a member of the Commission on Civil Rights, as advisor to Presidents, Governors, Senators and Congressmen, always advocating for justice and equality of all citizen members of our communities.
Let us all, members of the American GI Forum, remember Dr. Hector P. Garcia, as an extraordinary leader, founder of our great organization, a dedicated public servant and an advocate of equal treatment for all. Dr. Garcia fought for the rights of Veterans and Latinos. Within the American GI Forum, he assisted in staring programs such as the Veterans Outreach Program, SER, the Hispanic Education Foundation, and the National Archives to help break down the barriers in education, health care, housing, to have a fair and open job market. The American GI Forum honors him today by continuing to fight to protect our liberties and ensure that all Americans are treated equally with dignity and respect."