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Veteran's Day Honor For J. T. Inge, An Original Montford Point Marine,
Recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal & My Father
There is no one on earth whom I am more proud of than my father.
In 1942, President Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans an opportunity to be recruited into the Marine Corps. These African Americans, from all states, were not sent to the traditional boot camps but instead, African American Marines were segregated - undergoing their basic training at Montford Point - a facility at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Given this chance to prove themselves, it became impossible to deny the fact that this new breed of Marine was just as capable as all other Marines regardless of race, color, creed or National origin.
Approximately seventy years ago, these African American men had the courage to accept a challenge that changed the course of history; men who paved the way for you and I, men who were true heroes. Throughout the years, the Montford Point Marines received little recognition for their contribution to U.S. history. Some even paid the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for this country and fellow Marines during a time of adversity and despondency when they were neither accepted by the Marines Corps nor their own country for which they served. They endured racial discrimination and disrespect because of the color of their skin. Despite their disparate treatment, these men fought and died for their country, these men proved themselves worthy of the title, United States Marine.
The sacrifices of these men, paved the way for other minorities and women to be integrated into the Marine Corps. By their sacrifice Montford Point Marines engineered social and cultural change in the Marine Corps that created a lasting impact. Many Montford Point Marines were leaders in the American civil rights movement. Their successes outside the Marine Corps are just as much a part of the Marine Corps legacy as their service within the Corps.
On the 27th of June 2012, at the Capital Visitors Center, Washington, DC in Emancipation Hall, 63 years after the camp they trained at closed its doors, the Congressional Gold Medal was finally awarded to the Montford Point Marines. The Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, serves to honor and solidify their dedication, their perseverance, and their bravery.
J.T. Inge, on behalf of myself, Asma Inge-Hanif, Valerie Inge, Gianni Vega (Inge), Ammar Hanif, Ayyub Hanif, Antar Hanif, Aaliyah Inge- Hanif Wilson, Assata Hanif, Asiya Hanif, A'mara Hanif, Arsenia Wilson, Ariel Wilson - we love you father, grandfather & great-grandfather. "Semper Fi."