Doris Miller's relative makes documentary about his legacy

Posted at 1:42 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:42-04

A Robinson ISD 7th grade student, who is related to World War II hero Doris Miller of Waco, created a documentary about his life.

Heaven Dean, who presented the documentary at the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair on Friday, said the documentary included family pictures of her 4th cousin that had never been shown before. 

"I'm really happy to be one of his relatives because it means I have someone in my family I look up to and maybe one day, I can be like him and make a difference," Dean said.

Miller, who served in the U.S. Navy, manned an unattended deck gun, firing at attacking planes during the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

"I think a lot of people didn't know that much information about Doris Miller and I think I enlightened them with the information," Dean said.

Dean wants people to remember him.

"People should know that he was the first African American to get the Navy Cross and as I previously said it is Black History Month and my grandma has pictures that no one really has,” Dean said.

The 13-year-old included those pictures in that project something that stood out to Robinson Junior High Diane Rogers said.

“I'm really proud of her that she came up with the idea first of all and then to be able to show the medals and the pictures that have never been seen. It was very exciting to be one of the first people outside the family to get to see those,” Rogers said.

Dean presented on Feb. 24, which is the date Miller’s mother was born.

"If Henrietta will still be alive to this day, I bet she should be very proud that people are honoring her son and WWII HERO,” Dean said.

During the documentary, Dean talked about the efforts to get Miller the Congressional Medal of Honor.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) has been working on this effort since 1993.  However, she said that work started in the 1940s.

“I won’t give up on it, not until I leave Congress,” Johnson said.

According to Rogers, Dean won the daughters of Republic of Texas Award and the Legion Auxiliary Certificate of Recognition. However, she did not advance to the state competition held in April. 

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