The nation will right a long-overdue wrong when the president next month awards the Medal of Honor to 24 U.S. Army veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
After a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress, the two dozen recipients — only three of whom are still alive — will be recognized at a March 18 ceremony.
Most are Hispanic, Jewish or African-American soldiers whose courageous actions previously were passed over for the nation’s highest commendation for valor. Each previously was recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military award.
Among them is Donald K. Schwab of Hooper, Neb., who died nine years ago at age 86. His story is a vivid example of the gallantry these soldiers displayed in defending the nation.
Schwab, a first lieutenant, was commander of Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in combat near Lure, France, in 1944. On Sept. 17, he led a dwindling group of men who charged a line of German machine guns, eventually rushing the enemy alone. “Ultimately, he took out a German pistol nest by ripping off its shelter cover, bludgeoning the gunner with his carbine and dragging him behind friendly lines amid a hail of gunfire,” according to the Military Times. “The action so disorganized the enemy troops that they abandoned their defenses and withdrew.”
The nation owes each of these soldiers a tremendous debt. It’s good that, even decades late, their country is saluting them. Such selfless courage knows no racial, religious or ethnic bounds.