Medal of Honor recipient and film star Audie Murphy topped an online survey of America’s “Most Beloved Veterans” conducted by The American Legion, the country’s largest organization of wartime veterans.
More than 70,000 votes were cast by about 4,800 participants; each respondent could vote for up to 25 veterans from a list of 100 candidates put together by the Legion. Write-in candidates were also accepted.
A farm boy from Texas, Murphy became the most decorated soldier of World War II and pursued a postwar movie career that included starring roles such films as “The Red Badge of Courage” and “To Hell and Back.”
Murphy led a top 10 of veterans that included, in order: George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Alvin York, George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, Norman Schwarzkopf, Robert E. Lee, Jimmy Doolittle and Ulysses S. Grant.
Making it into the top 25 were film star Jimmy Stewart, World War I air ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Navy SEALs Chris Kyle and Michael Murphy, Pearl Harbor hero Dorie Miller, NFL player Pat Tillman, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, John Paul Jones, John F. Kennedy, Medal of Honor recipient Bruce Crandall and legendary Marine Lewis “Chesty” Puller.
Several pop culture heroes finished in the top 100, including Bill Cosby, Mickey Rooney, Charles Schulz, Gene Roddenberry, Rod Serling and Buster Keaton.
For the full list and more information on each of the veterans selected, please visit http://www.legion.org/belovedveterans