Obama Awards 24 Army Veterans the Medal of Honor
In years to come, Tuesday, March 18 will be studied in history books and taught to students around the country. On this day, in an emotional White House ceremony, President Barack Obama honored 24 Army veterans with the Medal of Honor – the single largest group of servicemen to receive the Medal at one time since World War II in 1945.
“This ceremony is 70 years in the making,” Obama said. “As one family member said, this is long overdue.”
The 24 veterans recognized by Obama had once been overlooked because of their race or ethnicity. March 18 forever changed the story of the Medal of Honor.
“This ceremony reminds us of one of the enduring qualities that makes America great,” 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.”
Of the 24 honorees, eight served during the Vietnam War, nine were in the Korean War and seven fought in World War II. Only three men from the newest group of recipients are living.
Each citation was read one-by-one. Shaking sons and daughters stood next to the President to accept our nation’s highest military honor on behalf of their lost loved ones. The three living recipients, Santiago Jesse Erevia, Jose Rodela and Melvin Morris are Vietnam veterans. Dressed in full military uniform they each proudly held their heads high next to Obama as a military officer read their citations. This special moment is a moment that should have happened years ago.
“So we – each generation – we keep on striving to live up to our ideals of freedom and equality and to recognize the dignity and patriotism of every person, no matter who they are, what they look like or how they pray,” President Barak Obama said.
"Obama Honors 24 Overlooked Medal of Honor Recipients." NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
Richard Simon March 18. "Obama Awards Medal of Honor to 24 Veterans, Cites 'unimaginable' Valor." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.