World War II

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KYW In Depth: Forgotten heroes of World War II

June 19, 2019 - 3:35 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — KYW Newsradio goes in depth with a special podcast presentation on the forgotten heroes of World War II: black soldiers.

African-American soldiers played a key role in D-Day, yet their stories remain largely untold.

KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg shared the story of several of those men from the Philadelphia area.

At 97 years old, William Thompson is still trying to honor fellow vet — and Overbrook High School classmate — Waverly Woodson, who died in 2005. Woodson was one of the few black soldiers known to have served on Omaha Beach that fateful day.

Related: Forgotten warriors: Recognizing the black soldiers of D-Day

Gregg and KYW Newsradio anchor Carol MacKenzie take a closer look at the layered, complex fight to honor Woodson 75 years later with the Congressional Medal of Honor — an award given to only a few black soldiers from World War II.

Below, they briefly discuss why the recognition is so important: 

Gregg: Now let me just tell you a little bit about Bill (William Thompson). Bill is ... 97, but he has fire in his eyes like you would never believe. He had a walker, and if you blinked the man was gone. He was Speedy Gonzales. … And he has all these records from Waverly’s service.

MacKenzie: And you mentioned (Waverly’s) wife had said that he never really spoke about (the war). And when you talk to a lot of World War II veterans, they never spoke about it. One reason is because many of them are incredibly humble about what they did. But there is, of course, the other reason, which is, it was horrific.


Where does the push for Woodson’s recognition stand now? Listen to the full podcast below: