History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients

History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients


>>THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY FOR “MATTER OF FACT.” THE STORY OF STAFF SERGEANT MELVIN MORRIS RAISES A QUESTION. WERE THERE OTHER HEROES WHO WERE OVERLOOKED REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE, RELIGION OR ETHNICITY? IMAGINE THE EMOTION OF STAFF SERGEANT MORRIS, 44 YEARS REMOVED FROM VIETNAM WHEN HE GETS A CALL FROM UP PRESIDENT OBAMA, SAYING HE HAD SOMETHING THAT BELONGED TO HIM. IT WAS TIMING TO RIGHT THAT WRONG AND BESTOW AN HONOR TOO LONG DELAYED. >>AT THE VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL, THE SILENCE IS ALMOST DEAFENING.>>CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS MANY MEN DIED IN VIETNAM? THAT IS MIND BOGGLING.>>WHY IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE VISITING? I WAS VERY SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT. >>I NEVER WANTED TO FACE UP TO IT. THIS BRINGS IT HOME TO YOU, TO SEE THAT MANY PEOPLE THAT GAVE IT ALL FOR A SACRIFICE. >>MORE THAN 58,000 NAMES OF AMERICAN LIVES LOST AND FAMILIES HEART PRONE ARE ENGRAVED ON — HEARTBROKEN ARE ENGRAVED ON THIS WALL.>>THE MEDAL OF HONOR WENT TO 246 OF THESE SOLDIERS, WELL MORE THAN HALF DIED IN THEIR ACT OF VALOR. 44 YEARS AFTER MELVIN MORRIS’ COURAGEOUS ACT, THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD FINALLY GIVE HIM HIS DUE. ATONING FOR A PATTERN OF RACIAL BIAS. BY THEN, MORRIS WAS 72. >>WHAT WAS IT LIKE THE DAY THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID YOU WERE GOING TO GET THE MEDAL OF HONOR?>>PROUDEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE, BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE THAT THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.>>WHEN I CALLED MELVIN MORRIS, HIS FIRST REACTION WAS OH, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE? [LAUGHTER] WHEN I TOLD HIM IT WAS ALL GOOD, THE MEDAL OF HONOR, I COULD HEAR IT THROUGH THE PHONE. HE ALMOST PASSED OUT. >>HE SAID I WANT TO APOLOGIZE TO YOU FOR NOT RECEIVING THE MEDAL OF HONOR 44 YEARS AGO.>>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. >>IN 2014, PRESIDENT OBAMA CORRECTED PREJUDICE THAT HAD SPANNED THREE WARS. HE AWARDED 24 ARMY VETERANS THE MEDAL OF HONOR. JUST THREE HAD LIVED TO SEE THE DAY. MELVIN MORRIS’ FAMILY WATCHED AS HE FINALLY GOT WHAT WAS DUE HIM. HE HAD DRAGGED SERGEANT HAGAN’S BODY TO SAFE TERRITORY IN SEPTEMBER OF THE 1969. IT WAS NOW MARCH, 2014, 44 YEARS AFTER HIS HEROISM IN VIETNAM. [APPLAUSE]>>FINALLY THAT DAY CAME, AND IT WAS A GREAT HONOR. YOU KNOW, IT TOOK A LONG WHILE FOR IT TO SINK IN. I DON’T THINK IT HAS FULLY SUNK IN YET. >>PLEASE GIVE THEM A BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE. [APPLAUSE]>>STAFF SERGEANT MORRIS WAS NEVER BITTER. SINCE HIS HONOR, HE SPEAKS TO AUDIENCES, TELLING HIS STORY AND DEMONSTRATING THAT BRAVERY HAS MANY FACES. HE AND COLONEL BARNUM OFTEN APPEAR TOGETHER. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE RECOGNIZED WITH MEDALS OR OTHER ACCOLADES, THE BRAVERY OF ALL OF OUR SOLDIERS IS WORTHY OF RECOGNITION, AND WE HONOR THOSE

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