Fletcher’s wound from that incident and others ought to have earned him a Purple Coronary heart. However as was the case for a lot of different Black People within the navy, he was denied the honour as a consequence of racism.
Final week, 77 years after the actual fact and on the age of 99, Fletcher lastly obtained the Purple Coronary heart.
“The issue was that the Black troopers have been thought-about injured and an damage wasn’t thought-about an incidence of Purple Coronary heart,” Fletcher’s daughter Jacqueline Streets informed CNN. “The White troopers have been thought-about wounded.”
At a ceremony on June 18 in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, Military officers and different leaders praised Fletcher for his service and acknowledged that what he endured was an injustice.
Fletcher, sitting in his wheelchair whereas decked out in navy regalia, remarked, “It is about time.”
The trouble was years within the making
Getting Fletcher the popularity was a battle in itself, stated Streets.
Fletcher started speaking extra about his time within the conflict about 20 years in the past, Streets stated. Nevertheless it was a visit to Normandy a number of years in the past that lastly made him need to communicate up.
“It actually hit him that he needed to be heard,” Streets stated. “He needed the reality to be recognized. He needed to be validated and acknowledged.”
Fletcher informed his household in regards to the prejudice he and different Black troopers confronted by the hands of their White counterparts — and about how he by no means received a Purple Coronary heart. On the time, although, Streets stated she and her household thought there was nothing they may do about it.
Military officers have been in a position to confirm their tales based mostly on the testimonies of the 2 males, historic information and different sources.
When Streets first delivered the information to her father, she requested him the way it felt to lastly obtain the honour he had been combating for all these years.
“Good,” he answered merely.
It was a typical response from her father, who is not usually one to make an enormous present of emotion, Streets stated. However she is aware of it meant a lot extra.
“I believe it was a tremendous weight off of his shoulders to lastly be validated, to lastly have his story on the market,” she added. “The unhappy factor is that there are such a lot of extra who’ve the identical story and have been by no means acknowledged.”