President Obama presented 24 minority U.S. veterans their long overdue Medal of Honor on Tuesday.
Only three were alive to receive the award.
The servicemen were identified following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients of the country’s highest recognition for valor were not bypassed due to prejudice. […]
“Today we have the chance to set the record straight,” Obama said. “No nation is perfect, but here in America we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal.”
The three surviving recipients — Vietnam veterans Jose Rodela, Melvin Morris and Santiago Erevia — received a prolonged standing ovation at Obama’s side, their faces set in somber acknowledgement of the honor.
Rodela was a 31-year-old company commander of a Special Forces strike group on Sept. 1, 1969, in Veitnam when his unit came under fire from North Vietnamese Army troops.
According to his Medal of Honor citation and supporting documents, the battle lasted 18 hours and 11 men were killed.
Morris was a staff sergeant during combat operations near Chi Lang, South Vietnam in 1969. He led soldiers across enemy lines to retrieve his team sergeant who had been killed, and single-handedly destroyed an enemy force hidden in bunkers.
Erevia was cited for courage while serving as a radio-telephone operator on May 21, 1969 during a mission in South Vietnam. He single-handedly silenced four Vietnam bunkers.
Kudos to the president for honoring these men for their outstanding service.
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