story by: Todd Spangler – Detroit Free Press
photo courtesy of: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press
The nation’s first black Marines, who trained in a segregated camp at Montford Point, N.C., were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal
The ravages of age — the failing eyesight, the shuffling gaits, the graying hair — couldn’t hide the valor and pride, not to mention the surprise, of the nation’s first black Marines, at long last receiving their just due from Congress.
On Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid presented the Montford Point Marines with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the government bestows.
It’s a fitting tribute to the more than 19,000 men who received basic training at segregated Montford Point, N.C., from 1942-49 — many of whom went on, particularly during World War II, to be held out of combat by brass who considered blacks unfit for combat duty. Only about 420 Montford Point Marines are still living; the group’s association said about 370 made it to Washington for the ceremony in a hall connected to the U.S. Capitol.
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