Nov. 11, 1993: Honoring Veterans

Veterans Day: New honors for African American soldiers and female veterans.
4:13 | 11/11/11

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Transcript for Nov. 11, 1993: Honoring Veterans
More than 161300000. Americans fought in World War II. 900000. Of whom were black some of them have finally won the recognition that they deserved. Here's ABC's Ron Claiborn. 1944. The all black 761. Tank battalion was driving against the Germans in northern France. In a fierce battle 25 year old sergeant Ruben rivers was badly wounded but refused to leave the front two days later he was killed leading a tank charge. He could've gone home. Over beyond the call of duty staying in the line with a serious reform -- world in great pain. In fighting it out with an enemy. Williams recommended rivers for the congressional medal of honor the nation's highest military decoration instead he got the silver star the best. -- -- That best was not good enough that condition and the line. 433. Medals of honor were awarded during World War II not one to a black soldiers. Many black veterans say they were denied honors or given lesser medals than they deserved because of ingrained racism in the military. There was a lot of segregation we were black and the people giving -- the awards and embattled -- like. They -- -- it was a reflection of the largest social milieu of American society and racism was very much a part. Obama American society. -- is conducting a Defense Department investigation into the -- -- of ten black soldiers including Ruben rivers to see if they were unjustly denied the medal of honor. Last week only after winning a lawsuit Alonzo Swann received the navy cross for shooting down a kamikaze plane. 49 years ago my grandchildren will be able to say their grandfather. Things this. For the black veterans that is what's important not just medals but that history knows what really happened Ron Claiborne ABC news. There are others who service to their country has been neglected until this week there was no statue anywhere in Washington. Paying tribute to American women in the military today finally the Vietnam women's memorial was dedicated. Here's ABC's Jim with. There are in this city 112. Monuments and memorials to presidents and politicians. Soldiers and statesman. And now in a grove of trees off independence mall. To the 111000 women who served in Vietnam. Most of them nurses all of them volunteers. Some of them are on hand for the ceremonies today. Like and Cunningham. They were all soldiers once and young. I -- ninety years -- I went to Vietnam and and I was in the -- me seven and a half -- But the casualties -- even younger boys really half the 58000. Names on the famous -- belong to soldiers seventeen or eighteen when they died. 350000. Wounded like -- -- who came today to say thanks to Colleen easily the nurse who helped him survive. We have been -- -- -- -- by the male veterans. Adds if if we had not been in on the nurse says that the -- a lot longer than than it is today. Ms. Cunningham and her friend Sarah -- treated scores of -- -- mutilated young men in Vietnam. There's always a lot of blood on me flat on my hands in my arms and legs sometimes I would be standing in -- Horrible thing. You matter how much I Kleenex and get the smell the blood out of my head enemy knows. And they could not show the trauma they felt because you become less and seeing. The horror in your face of public and -- five. You had to get them to hang on so they could go home. And when they came home. Their -- stress was as painful as the minutes. Some of that heard his captured in the memorial. And some -- his songs sung today at its dedication. Jim wooten ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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