For nearly eight decades, former Army Private Osceola “Ozzie” Fletcher’s experience in the Battle of Normandy went unrecognized.
Shortly after D-Day in 1944, Fletcher was in the back of a vehicle delivering supplies to Allied troops who were off the coast of France when he and his fellow service members were hit by a German missile.
The driver was killed, and Fletcher was left with a large gash on his head.
Fletcher’s wound from that incident and others should have earned him a Purple Heart.
But as was the case for many other Black Americans in the military, he was denied the honor due to racism.
Last week, 77 years after the fact and at the age of 99, Fletcher finally received the Purple Heart.
"The problem was that the Black soldiers were considered injured and an injury wasn't considered an incidence of Purple Heart," Army Private Osceola "Ozzie" Fletcher's daughter Jacqueline Streets said. "The White soldiers were considered wounded."https://t.co/NaunmMIa0k— CNN (@CNN) June 23, 2021
Fletcher’s daughter said her father feels “good” after receiving the medal.
“I think it was an amazing weight off of his shoulders to finally be validated, to finally have his story out there,” she said.
“The sad thing is that there are so many more who have the same story and were never acknowledged.”