The emotional ceremony marked the culmination of a 50-year campaign waged by Korean War veteran Mitchel Libman, now 83, who was convinced that his childhood friend from Brooklyn was denied the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor because he was Jewish.
Obama noted that a Medal of Honor ceremony “is always a special occasion. But today it is truly historic.”
“This ceremony reminds us of one of the enduring qualities that makes America great, that makes us exceptional,” Obama said. “No nation is perfect. But here in America, 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.”