The unveiling of the Doris Miller sculpture last year was just the first piece to his memorial.
Phase Two was completed in December, but there is still work to be done before it’s complete.
After a year of waiting, the Doris Miller sculpture finally has a home.
“It’s just absolutely amazing. I mean, we’ve watched for the last month while the culture has been placed on the site, and trepidation when that got to its correct place,” says Doreen Ravenscroft, of Waco Cultural Arts.
The rain didn’t stop members of the Waco community, the Waco Cultural Arts, military vets and Miller family members from taking part in the dedication.
Emotions ran high seeing the memorial near completion.
“Officer Miller’s actions exemplify the ideals that me and all who wear the cloth of this nation past and present are proud to serve,” says Admiral Keith Jones, keynote speaker.
The architect says just seeing the memorial just steps from completion is a huge accomplishment.
“It’s not often that a project like this pulls the community together as this project has,” says Stan Carroll, architect.
Students from Doris Miller Junior High School in San Marcos traveled to Waco to attend the event.
Phase Two of the memorial, titled “Many sailors make a ship,” is still in the works.
Doris Miller’s story is one we shall never forget. He was only a cook on board the West Virginia when nine torpedoes hit the ship on December 7, 1941. Instead of following command, he took up arms – firing back at the enemy.
Now the American hero’s legacy will live on with this memorial and serve as a unifying symbol for the Waco community.
“And I am very humbled and very proud of this day to see my uncle standing there,” says Brenda Heaven, Miller’s niece.
The Doris Miller family also traveled from Midland to see their uncle memorialized in their hometown.
“I hope that my grandmother is looking down on this to see her son’s name,” Heaven says.
But the memorial is not finished yet.
“Phase Two actually includes the completion of the funding for the amazing steel structure of the ship’s hull that you see behind me,” Ravenscroft says.
These medal pools will be replace with three bronze reliefs – sharing the story of Doris Millers family, his life as a young student, and a boxing champion in the Navy.
“But they are being made so that somebody in a wheelchair can roll up to them and feel, reach the sculptures. Also if somebody is blind, they will be able to feel the relief of the story,” Ravenscroft says.
The memorial will also serve to honor other fallen heroes.
“World War II heroes, heroes from Afghanistan, heroes from Vietnam – it will all be a part of our fundraising,” Ravenscroft says.