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This year, President Obama has chosen to honor a soldier who went unrecognized in American history – because he was black. Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris will receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic war rescue. While Morris was stationed in South Vietnam, his unit was attacked, which killed the commanding officer. It was like a scene from a war film.

Morris, who had been shot three times, obtained the officer’s body, and retrieved a strategic war map before the enemy soldiers could get ahold of it. During a personal call from President Obama who said that he should’ve received the medal decades prior, Retired Sergeant Morris “fell to his knees.”

On March 18th, the Vietnam War hero, along with 23 other soldiers of African-American, Hispanic and Jewish heritage will be belatedly given the nation’s highest military honor. Twelve years ago, realizing that there were soldiers left out of commendations and medals solely because of their race or background, Congress ordered the Department of Defense to take a new look at soldiers of WWII and both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Out of over 3,400 recipients, only 88 African-American soldiers have received the Medal of Honor.

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