The contributions of Latino, Jewish and African-American soldiers during the 20th century are vast and profound. Tragically, their heroism during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars too often was overlooked because of bigotry.
Americans should be heartened by the
ongoing attempts to right these wrongs by ensuring that the men worthy of the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, actually receive it.
Recently 24 Army veterans belatedly received the medal from President Obama during a White House ceremony.
The three living recipients attended the event; family members of the other 21 accepted the award on their behalf posthumously. Eight fought in Vietnam, nine in Korea and seven in World War II.
All were part of a group of 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military honor for valor in action, that were ordered to undergo a review as part of the 2002 Defense Authorization Act to determine if any were overlooked because of race or religious biases of the era.
This nation’s ability to recognize and correct past injustice is part of what makes it the greatest nation in the world – the nation for which those brave men fought decades ago. Today, those men have the gratitude of the American people.
Their honor was delayed, but not forgotten.