Medals of Honor awarded after decades, 2 local veterans included - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WASHINGTON D.C.

Medals of Honor awarded after decades, 2 local veterans included

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WASHINGTON D.C. - President Obama corrected a historic injustice Tuesday.  He awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 Jewish, Hispanic and African-American veterans. They had been overlooked because of their race or religion, until now. 

The late Staff Sergeant Felix Conde-Falcon was born in Puerto Rico, but buried in Rogers. His son lives in Temple and accepted the medal Tuesday afternoon on behalf of his father, at our nation's capital.  

Richard Conde said, "I'm just honored and privileged as the son of one of those soldiers to be here, to be recognized today on his behalf.  I'm just overwhelmed with honor and pride."
 
Conde-Falcon died during combat in Vietnam in 1969.  At Tuesday's ceremony, the following was read about him: "Sergeant First Class Conde-Falcon's extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army."
 
Of the 24 recipients, five others have Texas ties. Specialist Santiago Erevia was born in Nordheim, and Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela was born in Corpus Christi. They are two of three recipients still living. 
   
Then there's Sergeant Candelario Garcia of Corsicana, Corporal Victor Espinoza of El Paso and Master Sergeant Mike Pena of Newgulf.
     
For these soldiers and their families this moment is one that words can hardly describe.  

Conde says, "For my sister and I, living without our dad for 45 years, and now to have this moment with him, we're going to cherish it and just enjoy it for as much and as long as we can."
 
Conde says as soon as he gets home from Washington DC, he'll visit his father's grave with the Medal of Honor. 
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