VIETNAM VETERAN JERRY SMITH SR. SPEAKS OUT IN A NEW FILM FROM GORILLA
DETROIT, Nov. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — “We don’t give negroes purple hearts.”
Those are the words Jerry Smith Sr. was told while getting medical attention from a Vietnam War medic. Today, the injury hurts just as much, only in a much different way—as a reminder of the ugly prejudice that existed even for people defending our nation.
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed in action against an enemy of the United States. For years, Jerry Smith Sr. and his family have called on government officials to rectify this injustice, without success. A new film named In Honor of a Purple Heart aims to change this.
“The film has won awards at festivals, but this is about something more important,” said Eric Scott Johnson, producer of the film. “This is about Jerry Smith Sr. getting what was wrongfully withheld from him solely due to his race.”
Before the war, Jerry Smith Sr. was no stranger to racism. In August 1955, Jerry’s cousin, a 14-year-old Black boy named Emmett Till was wrongfully accused of whistling at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi – the Jim Crow South. Three days later, he was kidnapped and brutally murdered by two white men. Jerry faced a similar wrongful accusation at Kansas State University and was forced to flee. He lost his scholarship and ended up in Vietnam.
“We have gone through several political representatives to see if we can get help and yet we haven’t been able to get anything done,” said John Hammond, a Vietnam War Veteran. “Politicians and our military need to take note of this,” added Hughes Byrne, Commander, VFW Post 1677. “We have an injustice happening here and it’s in their power to change it.”
To advocate for Jerry, a change.org petition can be signed at www.change.org/jerrysmithsr.
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cousin-of-emmett-till-denied-the-purple-heart-medal-based-on-race-301980073.html
Some images courtesy of https://pixabay.com