honors 24 minority veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam
Send a link to a friend
[March 19, 2014]
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Two dozen U.S. Army
veterans received the country's top military honor at the White House on
Tuesday for acts of bravery in World War II, Korea and Vietnam as part
of an effort to recognize those whose service may have been ignored
because of their race or religion.
President Barack Obama awarded the medals recognizing the 24
Hispanic, African-American and Jewish-Americans veterans — the
largest group of soldiers to be honored for the award since World
Just three of the men honored are still living and were on hand to
accept the blue-ribboned award from the president. The others either
died in combat or later of natural causes. One veteran is still
classified as missing, Obama said.
The review was part of a yearslong effort to honor service members
despite past discrimination, Obama said.
"Here in America, we confront our imperfections and face the 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," he said.
"As one family member said, this is long overdue," Obama told the
audience of wives, brothers, sons and daughters who came to accept
the awards in a ceremony at the White House.
The awards followed a 2002 law authorizing a review of war records
for Americans who are Jewish or Hispanic. As part of the effort,
records of other service members who were overlooked have also
[to top of second column]
The three living veterans on hand to accept their award were Melvin
Morris of Florida and Jose Rodela and Santiago Erevia of Texas.
The ceremony drew singer Lenny Kravitz, whose uncle Leonard Kravitz
was honored posthumously for his service in Korea in 1951.
The list of those honored is at
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.