WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is posthumously bestowing America’s highest military honor on two World War I Army veterans who may have been denied the honor because of discrimination.
Obama was holding a White House Medal of Honor ceremony Tuesday for Sgt. William Shemin, who was Jewish, and Pvt. Henry Johnson, from an all-black regiment.
Both are being honored for their heroism in rescuing comrades on the battlefields of France in 1918. The award comes after Congress passed an exemption from Medal of Honor rules specifying that heroic actions have to have taken place within five years to be considered.
Shemin raced across the battlefield repeatedly under gunfire to pull wounded comrades to safety. And Johnson rescued a wounded comrade while fighting off a surprise German attack.