lead dnt tapper moh recipient_00000615.jpg
Veterans receive belated Medals of Honor
03:12 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: ''The only thing I could do is fight," honoree Melvin Morris tells CNN

President Barack Obama honors 24 veterans with the Medal of Honor

White House says they were passed over for the top medal because of discrimination

Only three of them are still alive; they served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam

CNN  — 

If not for the hue of their skin or their ethnicity, 24 soldiers who faced death in service to their nation would have received the most prestigious medals for their valor long ago.

But they were born and fought in a time when such deeds were not always fairly acknowledged.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government corrected the oversight.

President Barack Obama honored 24 Army veterans with the Medal of Honor – the country’s highest military award, given to American soldiers who display “gallantry above and beyond the call of duty ” – for their combat actions in Vietnam, Korea and World War II.

“No nation is perfect, but here … we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal,” Obama said.