"As an elected official, one of the proudest moments I have ever experienced in all my years of service was the day that the House passed the bill I introduced (H.R. 2447) to grant a Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines. I had four of the Marines with me in the House gallery during the vote. They had travelled from across the nation to be in Washington, DC that day to witness it. And I will forever carry with me the roaring cheers and standing ovation they received from all of the Members of Congress for their service, their bravery, and their dedication to preserving freedom and democracy for our nation and the world.
After President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened the doors for African Americans to enlist in the United States Marines Corps, 20,000 brave African Americans enlisted in a time of war when the military services were still resistant to integration. Years before Jackie Robinson, and decades before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., these heroes joined the Marines to defend our great nation.
And these African American marines from across the nation were not sent to the traditional boot camps in Parris Island, South Carolina or San Diego, California. Instead, African American Marines were segregated, and went through basic training at Camp Montford Point near the New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Certainly, it is necessary to honor all of America's war heroes' selfless service and sacrifice, and in particular, those who served at Montford Point. They answered our nation's call at a time when our society was deeply divided along racial lines. As such, many of their contributions went unrecognized and many times they were not given the respect and recognition they deserved as Marines, as Americans, and as patriots. So in order to correct this past injustice, the Resolution, which is now law, was introduced on their behalf. This is a proud victory for the Montford Point Marines, as this Gold Medal will forever anchor their role in the history of our nation's great military."