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President Obama set to award Medal of Honor posthumously for 21 veterans

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When wars are fought in the name of God and country, sometimes mistakes are made. paperwork is lost, and the actions of heroes who should be celebrated are forgotten in some drawer somewhere. On March 18, 2014, as a result of legislation passed by Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), President Obama will award Medals of Honor posthumously to 21 veterans, including Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, uncle and namesake of rock musician and actor Lenny Kravitz.

PFC Leonard Kravtiz received the Distinguish Service Cross after giving his life in an extraordinary act of heroism during the Korean War, yet at the time he was also recommended for the Medal of Honor. PFC Kravitz sacrificed himself for his platoon when he took over a machine gun, fired into an ambush of Communist forces, and stayed behind so that his fellow soldiers could withdraw safely.

It was only after the tireless efforts of Kravitz’s childhood friend and South Florida resident Mitch Libman that a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran records was initiated through the 2002 Defense Authorization Act. At the time the review was authorized, it appeared that PFC Kravitz’s acts of valor and those of other Jewish American veterans may have been overlooked due to prejudice in the military. When additional cases of veterans deserving of the Medal of Honor came to light during the review, Congressman Deutch passed legislation allowing the President to proceed in recognizing each of the heroic veterans with our nation’s highest military honor.

“I am proud to have played a small part in ensuring that no veteran’s heroic service will be cast aside due to prejudice,” said Congressman Deutch. “The truth is today’s wonderful news is the culmination of a decades-long effort by a South Florida man who refused to let the courageous service of his dear friend, Private First Class Leonard Kravitz, go unrecognized. When the President awards the Medal of Honor to PFC Kravitz and more than two dozen other deserving veterans, we should all rededicate ourselves to ensuring that no soldier ever becomes a forgotten hero.”

In total, 24 Medals of Honor will be awarded by the President, including to 19 Hispanic, Jewish and African-American veterans.

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