A ninty-nine-year-old World War II veteran has finally been awarded a Purple Heart after he was denied a medal due to racism.
Osceola “Ozzie” Fletcher was awarded the Purple Heart last week.
Fletcher was awarded the medal for wounds he suffered in 1944, during the Battle of Normandy.
Fletcher was a twenty-two-year-old Army private who served with the 254th Port Battalion.
Delivering supplies to the Allied forces as they arrived on the coast of France on D-Day, Fletcher found his vehicle was struck by a German missile, the Washington Post reports.
The vehicle overturned, killing the driver. Fletcher was left wounded with leg injuries and a head gash that scarred him permanently
“We’re leaving the shoreline. We’re leaving the water. And we’re going into the forest. We had heard about the Germans setting off missiles the size of asteroids,” he recalled, the New York Post reports.
“Something, a missile, hit [our] tractor. That was an awful day.”
As per Army.mil, Fletcher was awarded the medal after his daughter, Jacqueline Streets, contacted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and found he deserved the award.
Streets told The Post, “It became my mission to get him this Purple Heart.”
Speaking with local media last year, Fletcher said, “Black soldiers didn’t get the Purple Heart. They got injured, damaged, hurt. But they never got wounded.”
“Only the white men who were wounded got Purple Hearts.”
At the ceremony that took place Fort Hamilton Community Club at the Army’s Fort Hamilton in New York, Gen. James McConville said, “He has spent his entire life giving to those around him whether they were brothers in arms, families, or his community. Well, today it’s Ozzie’s turn to receive.”
While Fletcher added: “It’s about time.”