July 23, 2014

First African-American Marines Honored

“Perseverance and Courage.”

That’s what it says on The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor.

On Wednesday, around 400 of the country’s first African-American Marines were given the Congressional Gold Medal. These brave men trained in a boot camp exclusively for African-Americans, Montford Point, before going on to fight and die along their white brothers in arms.

John Boehner, House Speaker R-Ohio, presented a medal to William McDowell, who represented Montford Point and accepted it on behalf of everyone. The rest of the marines will be receiving a bronze replica in a couple days. (A REPLICA??? Weak.)

Boehner, who was visibly teary-eyed, said that the Montford Point Marines “not only helped defeat tyranny overseas, but they thoroughly discredited a poisonous philosophy deeply held and long defended by elites here at home.” I couldn’t agree more! “For a generation, this philosophy justified bigotry, racism, and segregation.”

About 20,000 Marines trained at Montford Point, which was in operation between 1942 and 1949, most of them going on to fight in World War II, Vietnam and Korea. While it’s nice that they’re getting the nation’s highest civilian honor, it’s an outrage that it has had to take this long. I can’t help but think of all the Marines who fought bravely and died, forgotten by their country. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend, and let’s never forget the brave men and women who fought and died to keep our country safe and free.