An Honorable Way To Fight Back Against Racism
I lived through the 60’s when race riots were in full swing. I truly thought we were making racism more and more of an anathema, but as we have all seen in the news racism has come back with a fury since President Obama was elected. As an American, I am proud to see there is a small righting of wrongs that will be done to honor the service of 24 men who were denied the Medal of Honor because of the color of their skin. As you probably know, no one “wins” a Medal of Honor, but it is also not just wearing of a medal. Consider these other benefits:
- Special Medal of Honor pension of $1,194 per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. The MOH pension is subject to cost-of-living increases.
- Special entitlements to Space A air transportation.
- Enlisted recipients are entitled to a supplemental uniform allowance.
- Commissary and exchange privileges (includes eligible dependents).
- Admission to the United States military academies for qualified children of recipients — without nomination and quota requirements.
- 10 percent increase in retired pay.
- Medal of Honor Flag.
- Allowed to wear the uniform at anytime as long as the standard restrictions are observed.
- Many states offer Medal of Honor automobile license plates.
- Interment at Arlington National Cemetery if not otherwise eligible.
Which brings me to the “What Was Taken” part of the title of this article. Decades have passed since the end of the Vietnam War. The men who are deceased and were awarded posthumously the medal will have the honor attached to their names, but it is their families, and those of the few still living that I think of now with some sorrow for what was taken away from them. First in my mind is the missed educational opportunities the children of these men were denied. What great mind did we fail to enrich? Did any of the families falter financially when the extra money from the award might have meant better health, or a longer life? So many “what if’s” to be sure.
Twenty Four Heroes
One last thought, this award of the Medal of Honor cannot be seen as anything more than honoring the gallantry of individuals who didn’t think of the color of their skin when they fought and gave their lives. We need to focus on the kind of men they are and were: HEROES
Thank you gentlemen.