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Florida Veteran Awarded the Medal of Honor in White House Ceremony

Far from the Vietnam jungles where Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris,72, served two tours, the Army veteran stood on a stage at the White House today as he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Credit The White House online
President Barack Obama fastening the Medal of Honor around the neck of Sgt. First Class Melvin Morris, a Vietnam veteran now living in Port St. John, Florida.

President Barack Obama noted to the room packed with family members and military that the Port St. John, Florida resident was one of the first Green Berets.

In a ceremony that lasted more than an hour, Morris was recognized for his valor on Sept. 17, 1969, near Chi Lang. Then-Staff Sgt. Morris led an advance across enemy lines to retrieve a fallen comrade and single-handedly destroyed an enemy force that had pinned his battalion from a series of bunkers. Staff Sgt. Morris was shot three times as he ran back toward friendly lines with the American casualties, but did not stop until he reached safety.

In 1970, Morris received the nation's second-highest honor for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. But like the 23 others recognized in the March 18, 2014 Medal of Honor ceremony, it was determined that Morris deserved the highest honor, the Medal of Honor, but had been denied that originally due to discrimination.

You can read more about Morris in an Army News Service article and watch the White House ceremony.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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