Transcript for The Heroes Not Forgotten
Washington, we move to a recognition of courage and sacrifice long overdue. At the white house, today, president Obama awarded the medal of honor to 24 veteran, heroes who served in Korea, Vietnam and world war ii. And most of them were overlooked for decades because of their race or heritage. ABC's chief white house correspondent, Jonathan Karl, on their valor and their honor, tonight. Reporter: He volunteered twice to go to Vietnam, and there, performed above and beyond the call of duty. Nearly half a century later, Melvin Morris received a long-overdue phone call. I got on the phone. He says, this is president Obama. His first reaction was, oh, my god. What have I done? And I kinda, like, went down a little bit. He said, be cool, be cool, be cool. When I told him it was all good, the medal of honor, I could hear it though the phone he almost passed out. Reporter: Today, sergeant first class Morris was 1 of 24 soldiers, who had been denied the nation's highest military honor, most because of discrimination. Only three are still alive. In the thick of the fight, you were the first. One of the first to wear the green beret, Morris charged into enemy fire repeatedly, armed with as many grenades as he could carry. Staff sergeant Morris recovered a fallen comrade in Vietnam, took out several enemy bunkers, and kept going even after he was shot three times. Reporter: What gives you the ability to do that? To run in the direction of enemy fire? We don't join the military to back out when it gets tough. We got to do what we've gotta do. Reporter: As for the long delay, he harbors not a hint of bitterness. 24 individuals who should have received this medal years and years ago. Now, receiving it. Better late than never. Reporter: Jonathan Karl, ABC news, the white house.
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