For a man who already holds the nation's highest medal for bravery, retired Col. Charles Murray appeared quite humbled Thursday night to be the guest of honor at a local veterans' hall.
That's because American Legion Post 6, where he has been a member for three decades, renamed its banquet room after the 88-year-old Medal of Honor recipient.
Getting Murray, who received the medal for heroism during World War II, to agree to the latest accolade took some selling.
When first asked if he would accept, Murray suggested there were other members of the Legion more worthy.
Post commander Doyle Tipton, though, insisted.
"He's involved in everything that has to do with the military around Columbia," Tipton said of Murray. "He's a very honorable man who loves the military and does what he can ... for our veterans."
Murray, wearing the star-shaped medal with a blue ribbon around his neck, smiled as well-wishers reached to shake his hand and offer congratulations.
"I've spent a lot of time over the years in this room," said Murray, who moved to Columbia in 1970 when he was assigned to Fort Jackson. "Wedding receptions have been held here and banquets, too. This is just a great, great honor."
The hall, though, is not the first building to bear Murray's name. In his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., there's a middle school named after Murray.
While the rededication was the evening's headline event, Col. Kevin Shwedo, Fort Jackson deputy commander, presented Murray with the Order of St. Maurice, recognizing his lengthy support of the Army infantry.
"Since his retirement he has been probably one of the most active and visible members of the community," Shwedo said.
Murray attends military functions locally as well as around the state, Shwedo said. Murray also makes frequent trips to Fort Stewart, Ga., to visit his old unit, the 3rd Infantry Division, when it deploys, Shwedo added.
"He's a man still serving his country," Shwedo said.
Murray's wife of 67 years, Anne, also received an award from Shwedo. She was presented with the Shield of Sparta, which honors spouses for their support of the infantry.