Hidden History — Congress working to award posthumous Medal of Honor

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WASHINGTON — On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, a Black Army Medic, Corporal Waverly Woodson Jr. saved hundreds of lives on Normandy’s Omaha Beach.

According to witnesses, a German shell blasted apart the boat Woodson was in, badly wounding him.

Despite his injuries, Woodson set up a medical aid station and for the next 30 hours removed bullets, cleaned wounds, and saved soldiers’ lives. Congress is working to posthumously award Woodson the nation’s highest award for heroes the Medal of Honor.

Joann Woodson, Widow of Cpl. Waverly Woodson Jr., said, “He says many of them were frightened beyond speech.”

Joann Woodson – the widow of Corporal Waverly Woodson Jr. reads the words of her late husband’s personal eyewitness account of D-Day.

“Dawn broke as our ships approached the battleships.”

Cpl. Woodson landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. As a black Army medic, he was wounded himself, when a blast destroyed his boat.

“This D-Day Army prejudices took a backseat – as far as the soldiers helping one another was concerned,” said Joann.

Cpl. Woodson set up a medical aid station and for 30 hours he removed bullets, cleaned wounds, and saved lives.

Cpl. Woodson never received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. Despite the recommendations of his commanding officers, and then in 1973 his military records were destroyed by a fire in St. Louis.

Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen says that shouldn’t matter.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, D/MD, said, “Given the contemporaneous records of his heroism that were talked about in multiple newspapers at the time.”

Van Hollen and the Congressional Black Caucus wrote a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army – requesting a formal review to posthumously award the Medal of Honor.

This nation really needs to honor him in this way.

Despite no movement yet on the medal — Van Hollen and Woodson’s widow – hold onto hope that Woodson and other African Americans’ heroism during World War II will one day be properly recognized.

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