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San Antonio ceremony honors executed Black World War I soldiers

1 month 2 weeks 5 days ago Saturday, February 24 2024 Feb 24, 2024 February 24, 2024 7:46 PM February 24, 2024 in News - AP Texas Headlines

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs held a ceremony in San Antonio for 17 Black soldiers they say were wrongfully sentenced to death over a decade ago.

The soldiers were among the 110 Black soldiers who were convicted on mutiny and other charges in connection with the 1917 Houston riots.

The ceremony was held Thursday at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

As part of their convictions, the soldiers were dishonorably discharged and buried with headstones that were marked with only their name and year of death, as opposed to full honors.

U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said the soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials.

As part of the ceremony, the soldiers were given new headstones that reflect their name, unit, rank, and place of origin.

“They were wrongly convicted, unjustly convicted due to hastily held trials," U.S.  Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Matthew Quinn said. “They did serve honorably, they did serve this nation. It’s very important that we as the VA, we as the Army, we as a nation recognize the service of these soldiers."

Records for the soldiers were also amended to alter them to say they were honorably discharged.

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