LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — Dorie Miller was born in Waco, Texas in 1919. In 1938, Miller enlisted in the Navy as a mess attendant. During the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Miller’s life would change.
Beverly White is the Mayor of Lewisburg. She said his actions give hope for the future.
“Even in 1941, in spite of segregation, we still step up and we still show that we are leaders for our country, for our city, for our states,” White said. “It just gives you hope.”
Miller woke up as a kitchen hand on December 7, 1941. During the attacks, Miller jumped into action and carried the wounded to safety, including the captain who eventually died from his wounds.
As he went back out to the deck, the attacks were ongoing and Miller took post at a machine gun, a skill he wasn’t trained for.
Miller was able to shoot down three to four enemy aircrafts.
“I think it’ll show young men and women that you always look forward, always look at what you can do to make the world better,” White said.
Miller’s heroic actions during Pearl Harbor earned him the second-highest honor in the Navy, the Navy Cross, making him the first African American to receive that honor.
“I don’t know when we’ll stop being the first because it’s always going to be the first for us because of the lack of inclusion in so many aspects of life,” White said.
In Miller’s honor, a park in the City of Lewisburg was dedicated to him in 1977. According to White, Miller had no idea a park in Lewisburg, West Virginia was named after him.
“I think through the Historical Society, there may be an avenue that we could look at to see where we could go with it,” White said. “That would be great. At some point, if he still had relatives and they were willing to come here, that would be wonderful.”