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6/29/12

Honor Before Death

It must do their heart something to finally feel, see that they are being recognized. Thank God it's done before they died.

On a swampy North Carolina peninsula in 1942, the first black U.S. Marines lived in huts, segregated from white troops.
They endured freezing conditions, poisonous snakes and the derision of their white drill instructors. But they were Marines. They served their nation during World War II, doing work such as transporting ammunition to combat troops and ferrying the dead away from the fight.
Surviving members of the Montford Point Marines attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. Almost 400 of the first African Americans to serve in the Marines attended the ceremony.
For their patriotism and service amid indignity, the men known as the Montford Point Marines on Wednesday were awarded the nation’s highest honor for civilians, the Congressional Gold Medal. “The Montford Point Marines rode in the back of troop trains, ate at separate lunch counters, and used different bathrooms. They were trained to fight injustice overseas, meanwhile they suffered discrimination every day,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, during the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol visitor center’s Emancipation Hall. “They didn’t plan on being heroes, but they have been.” Carrel Reavis of San Diego was one of those Marines.

Drafted in 1943, the now-89-year-old was sent for training to Montford Point — located on a rugged corner of Camp Lejeune, one of the Marine Corps’ major infantry bases. “It was bad. All I can say is it was bad, and we went through it,” Reavis said in an interview this week. “If you tell it now, a lot of people don’t even believe it. … People don’t want to hear it, but it was bad.” He is one of several Montford Pointers from San Diego who attended Wednesday’s ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people. Please read my disclosure 
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