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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid