Heroes of Texoma: Henry H. King Memorial Highway

A Texoma highway is getting a new name to honor a Graham veteran.

The stretch of U.S. Highway 380 from Graham to Bryson will be designated as the Henry H. King Memorial Highway. But who was Henry H. King?

"He was one of my heroes growing up because he was a friend of my dad's. He was active in our Veterans in Foreign Wars Chapter his whole time. He was our commander from 1994-1995," said Mike Downey, Quartermaster for Graham's Chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars and friend of Henry King.

But before making his impact here in Texoma, Henry H. King was serving in the Army. In 1941, he was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines shortly after Pearl Harbor.

"They sent him to the main island of Japan as slave labor. He was working in the coal mines of Nagasaki, Japan when they dropped the second atomic bomb. But he said he didn't know anything about it because he was two and a half miles underground. All he knows is when they came up that evening after working all day, the Japanese were gone," said Downey.

After 4 years of captivity, King was rescued and returned to Graham where he lived and worked.

"He was an outstanding man, he lived until he was 92. His body failed him but his mind never did, he always had a warm handshake and he never considered himself a hero," said Downey.

But those around him did and tomorrow will mark the end of a journey to give him the recognition that the people of Young County thinks he deserves.

"Senator Estes and Representative Springer are the two legislators that helped us push this through and Judge Bullock played a big part here in the county but it actually got started by Allen Emmons, a former commander here," said Downey.

After the legislation was passed in May, the group had to raise more than $3500 for the road signs.

"The community of Graham and the VFW members and our auxiliary came through. We had a garage sale, we had a bake sale and donations. The people were just fantastic," said Downey.

For the VFW, it's not all about King. But every World War II soldier who deserves to have their story told.

The greatest thing about it is to educate people who didn't know about Henry and the people who don't know the history about some of the things some of these guys went through in World War Two," said Downey.

The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. at the Graham City Square. Texas Senator Craig Estes, State Representative Drew Springer, and Young County Judge John Bullock will be at the ceremony.

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