That being said, here is an attempt to do yesterday's blog, even though the computer is still acting up.
Back in 2002 the US Congress ordered the Pentagon to do a massive review of awards made to the military in any of the years between December of 1941 and September of 2001. Evidence suggested that there were far too many cases that seemed to support the contention that discrimination based on racial or ethnic backgrounds played a major role in the awarding of the top medal... the Medal of Honor... to those of Hispanic, Black American and Jewish decent.
And sure enough the massive job proved that there indeed was discrimination that ran so ramped that in the army alone some 600 cases were discovered that needed reassessment. Add to that over 275 from the other services. And to this, factor in that only those cases were a 2nd highest medal was awarded, was there a second look, such that produced these astounding figures. Even more upsetting is evidence discovered that some serving members hid their true names and enlisted under phoney ones in an attempt to avoid the discrimination they still encountered.
Last week the news was released that the twelve year study had been completed. From this 24 cases have been discovered were the service man should have been awarded a Medal of Honor and was unjustly disqualified and then awarded a lower medal. Of these 24 all but six were Hispanic, or Jewish. One was a Black American, and all fought in either WW11, Korea or Vietnam. Of the 24 that will be honoured this month. ONLY THREE ARE STILL ALIVE.
The White House ceremony is scheduled for March 18 and will be the largest awarding of Medals of Honor in one ceremony since WW11 days.
Some say justice is finally being done! But when 24 heroes were denied the acknowledgement that they had earned the highest medal in the country for their heroism for more than two decades, a very late correction is hardly the justice they, their families, their communities and their country deserved.
Last month was Black History Month in Canada and the US, and so the timing of the announcement was good for at least one of these heroes. No doubt also to all the others of diverse backgrounds, who's cases have now been identified as needing further review.
Lets hope they get it!
To begin with, we should all reflect of the very first black Victoria Cross recipient in the entire history of the award. That recipient was of course Nova Scotia born William Hall, who's run to constantly drag a heavy artillery gun into place against a very highly defended enemy wall, earned him a VC.
His memory was kept alive for years in highland tattoos yearly at Canada's East and West coast where teams competed against each other in re-enactments of running the gun to an obstacle, tearing it down, crossing the obstacle, rebuilding it and then firing off rounds and reversing the procedure back to the start point again.
A few years ago the competition was apparently halted as too many were getting hurt. If memory is right, Hall's battle was not halted for similar reasons! More can be read about Hall at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2012/12/74-nova-scotia-blacks-served-on-58-civil-war-vessels.html and at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2013/02/declared-deserter-fought-in-three-wars-for-2-countries-served-on-14-ships-and-awarded-victoria-cross.html
That being said, Sweeney also has been claimed for years as being born at Montreal but it reality he was born in the West Indies. Regardless, his heroism can not be challenged and more can be read about him in a past blog at...
Joseph's story has been covered in this space at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2013/12/medal-of-honor-recipient-buried-under-wrong-name-for-almost-130-years-age-and-length-of-service-also-pose-questions.html and he has had honourable mention numerous times since his grave was recently discovered with a few miles of Washington DC. I visited his grave a few months back and am assured that the updating of his marker is well in the works.
More can be read about the daring adventures of Admiral Byrd at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2013/02/on-top-of-the-world.html
More can be read about the 38 year wait for the Houghton MOH at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2013/02/waited-thirty-eight-years-to-get-his-medal-of-honor.html
If you think that wait was too long, you can read about O'Connor's 56 year wait at... . http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/1/post/2013/02/another-quebecer-gets-medal-of-honor-after-56-year-wait.html
And while reflecting on the 24 medals to be awarded later this month, revisit Thomas Gay's adventures and how he and 33 others all got their medals on the same day, at... http://www.canadianmedalofhonor.com/apps/search?q=Gay One of these others was also another Canadian.
Hope all this reading keeps you going till we again meet next Tuesday.
Note I said Tuesday, as Wednesday I expect to be away from my computer.