News / USA

Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Minority Veterans

Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Minority Veteransi
X
March 19, 2014 4:03 AM
President Barack Obama has recognized 24 ethnic or minority veterans with the Medal of Honor for combat bravery after years of being bypassed due to prejudice.VOA's Amanda Scott has more.
Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Minority Veterans
Amanda Scott
President Barack Obama has recognized 24 ethnic or minority veterans with the Medal of Honor for combat bravery after years of being bypassed due to prejudice. The service of the Hispanic, Jewish and African-American soldiers spanned three wars - from the World War II to Korea and Vietnam.
 
Of the honorees, only three were alive to receive their medals. Vietnam veterans Jose Rodela, Melvin Morris and Santiago Erevia attended the ceremony and were commended for bravery on the battlefield.
 
"It's unimaginable the valor that they displayed. Running into bullets, charging machine gun nests, and climbing aboard tanks and taking them out. Covering their comrades so they could make it to safety. Holding back enemies, wave after wave, even when the combat was hand-to-hand. Manning their post, some to their very last breaths, so that their comrades might live," said Obama.
 
The veterans were honored after a congressionally mandated review of thousands of war records of ethnic or minority service personnel in 2002 in an effort, as Obama said, "to make sure the heroism of veterans did not go overlooked due to discrimination." 
 
"No nation is perfect. But 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," said Obama.
 
Many of the recipients had received the Distinguished Service Cross, but because of prejudice had not been offered the Medal of Honor. Pam Elbe, an archivist with the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, said one of the posthumous recipients, Leonard Kravitz, a Korean War veteran credited with saving his comrades during battle, was long deserving of the medal.
 
"I think at least in the Jewish community there’s always been a feeling that some people were maybe overlooked because they were Jewish - Leonard Kravitz being a good example.  People have always felt that what he did deserved the Medal of Honor - not just the Distinguished Service Cross," said Elbe.
 
Elbe said that although discrimination was not an official part of U.S. military practice, many soldiers were overlooked for either religious or racial reasons.
 
"Unfortunately in the military, if your commander is an anti-Semite or prejudiced in some other way, you might be overlooked for something or given jobs you don’t want to do - so it’s just a general microcosm of society," said Elbe.
 
This was the single largest group of service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor since World War II.  The medal has been awarded to more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers since 1863.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mike Doyle from: Salford England
March 19, 2014 7:45 AM
As President Obama says: No nation is perfect and unlike many others America confronts its past mistakes and tries to make amends. By awarding the Medal of Honour to these very deserving soldiers it has righted a great wrong that due to ignorance and prejudice was committed against them.

In Response

by: uscitizen444 from: USA
March 19, 2014 12:54 PM
All American Veterans are hero's and deserve medal of honor. All are overlooked not just minority. Prejudice? Come on man get your act together. Support all your military, don't cut funding of U.S. military. Build and maintain strenghth to protect and serve. The efforts of your great people (HERO's) is why you can stand with your head up high. The military people since the beginning have been taken for granted. It is every service man and womens duty to be a hero and they are no matter how little or small or ethnicity. They do what they must because you say so. Be wise with your decisions and remove troops from harms way when possible. These people (veterans) all cover your _ _ _. Are we not all American's brother. Many people of other countries aspire to peace and freedom that we enjoy also. USA is a melting pot. All are minorities and all are American's. Great are the needs of all individual's everywhere, worldwide. God bless you for trying to do the right things. Peace
P.S.
Please, do not drink. Keep your mind clear.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid