Medal of Honor review sought for minority World War I heroesBreaking News
tags: racism, medals, World War 1
Congress is preparing to order the Pentagon to review the records of scores of decorated soldiers who served in World War I to determine if they were denied the nation’s highest battlefield honor because of their race or religion.
The bipartisan World War I Medals Review Act, expected to be unveiled Thursday, marks the latest effort to rectify the military’s history of discrimination against black soldiers and other minorities who fought and died alongside their white comrades but were shunned and often the victims of racial violence.
"We are in a historical conversation about race," said Timothy Wescott, director of the George S. Robb Centre for the Study of the Great War at Park University in Missouri, which is already reviewing some of the cases for the nonprofit United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars. "If there are corrections to make it is time to make those corrections in the bigger picture of reconciliation as a nation."
The reviews would be the first of their kind for the century-old conflict that pitted Great Britain, France, Russia and eventually the United States against foes including Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The research will initially focus on about 70 African American troops and then turn to other minority groups, according to officials involved in the effort.
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