WASHINGTON, D.C. — "This is the single largest group of service members to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the second World War," said President Obama.
President Obama corrected an historic injustice Tuesday, awarding the country’s top combat honor - the Medal of Honor - to two dozen veterans.
These veterans had been denied the distinction because of longstanding ethnic and religious prejudice.
"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."
The honors come after Congress ordered the Pentagon to review possible religious and ethnic discrimination in the awarding of the Medal of Honor; in particular, whether Latino and Jewish veterans had been wrongly denied. The military discovered that over 875 cases needed to be reexamined.
The president awarded the medals to three living Vietnam War veterans and to family members of the other veterans who received it posthumously.
Among them: Private First Class Leonard Kravitz. He died while protecting members of his platoon during the Korean War. If the name sounds familiar, it's because his nephew is the Grammy-winning rocker Lenny Kravitz.
Kravitz's niece Laurie Wenger accepted the medal. She says her uncle's belated honor is bittersweet.
"I'm thrilled that he's finally being honored and acknowledged for what he did. I just wish my grandparents and my dad could have been here to see it," she said.
"We all want to thank you for inspiring us – then and now – with your strength, your will and your heroic hearts," said the president.
It's a reminder that time can not diminish valor.