Louisville veterans honored by congress - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville veterans honored by congress

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Six Louisville veterans were awarded the highest civilian honor given by Congress at the Frazier museum Aug. 18, 2015. Six Louisville veterans were awarded the highest civilian honor given by Congress at the Frazier museum Aug. 18, 2015.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six Louisville veterans, who fought battles at home and abroad, were awarded the highest civilian honor given by Congress.

The recipients are all members of the Montford Point Marines. They received the award not only because of their service to the country but also because of the racial challenges they faced and overcame more than 70 years ago.

"Not only did these men ultimately emerge victorious in times of war, they overcame prejudice that divided us as a nation here at home," said Congressman John Yarmuth.

The honorees are African American marine veterans who enlisted between 1942 and '49 and received basic training at the segregated camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

"That small camp ended up becoming the home to 20,000 African American Marines who underwent basic training during segregation," Yarmuth explained.

On Tuesday, surviving member Edward Churchill and several others were honored at the Frazier Museum.

"So today, we recognize Mr. John Covington, Mr. Alonzo Crumes, Mr. Edward Polin and Mr. Herbert Thompson with The Congressional Gold Medal for their service and sacrifice as members of the Montford Point Marines," said Congressman Yarmuth.

Churchill and the families of the other marines received the Congressional Gold Medal from Congressman John Yarmuth.

"I am proud of it," Churchill said.

Churchill is 89-years-old but his memory and mind are sharp when asked about the challenges he faced joining the marine corps in the 1940s.

"Hell yeah, it was very, very tough," he said.

Marine veteran John Covington died nearly 20 years ago but his family is proud to accept the award on his behalf.

"We are honored and we're honored that he served, that he carried out his life like a true marine," Covington's step-daughter Janice Carter Miller said.

Congressman Yarmuth says the Montford Marines not only have a special place in the history of the country but also here in Metro Louisville.

"At one point, several years ago, we had more surviving Montford Point Marines than any other city in the country."

Each family and recipient received a certificate and a replica of the congressional gold Medal.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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