New Legislation Honors Minority WWI Heroes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Legislation Honors Minority WWI Heroes

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. - Lawmakers want to honor America's forgotten WWI heroes.

Cameras clicked off and recorded inside the Cambridge Empowerment Center on Pine Street Thursday, remembering veterans who served nearly a century earlier in World War I.

At the podium, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen introduced what he calls the World War I Valor Medals Review Act. The legislation establishes a board to review hundreds of thousands of documents with the goal to identify and potentially honor minority veterans regardless of race.

"These are really hidden heroes of that era," Van Hollen said. "For far too long, their heroism has not received the recognition it deserves. It is fitting that this nation rights this historic wrong."

It's an honor that couldn't come soon enough, according to some like Walter Chase. His father, Josiah Chase Jr., was honorably discharged after a year of fighting German troops - later returning to an unwelcoming home.

"He was a bitter man," Chase said. "He was bitter that he fought in the military and he came back as a second-class citizen."

The bill has an Eastern Shore tie too. A Salisbury man named William Butler served in WWI. Butler was recommended by his comrades for the highest military honor - the Medal of Honor - but never received it.

Van Hollen says he hopes the legislation will honor Butler and countless other unrecognized minority veterans.


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