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Mount Vernon Honors U.S. With 2 Independence Day Events

St. Paul's Church in Mount Vernon will once again host an Independence Day ceremony on Saturday.
St. Paul's Church in Mount Vernon will once again host an Independence Day ceremony on Saturday. Photo Credit: Contributed

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- A reception Thursday at 6 p.m. will honor a World War I African-American veteran from Mount Vernon and two people who fought for his recognition.

A ceremony Saturday will commemorate Mount Vernon's connection to freedom of the press.

The city of Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Central Committee for Veterans Affairs and the Mount Vernon Veterans Service Agency acknowledge the historic award of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Henry Johnson and the historic contributions to racial justice in the U.S. military by Dr. Leroy Ramsey and former U.S. Rep. Joe DioGuardi.

Ramsey and DioGuardi waged a decadeslong battle for World War I and World War II African-American heroes to receive the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.

The award of the Medal of Honor to Johnson and the contributions of Ramsey and DioGuardi will be celebrated when a memorial plaque is unveiled in their honor. This event is free and open to the public.

Representatives from lodges, posts and legions will also attend as well as DioGuardi and the family of Ramsey.

Ramsey's connection to Mount Vernon was established during public school desegregation efforts some 40 years ago. He then met DioGuardi, who was representing Mount Vernon in Congress, and together they led the efforts to have African-American heroes from the two world wars receive The Medal of Honor.

"I believe that there are dozens more African American soldiers deserving of our nation's highest military honor," said DioGuardi. "Our job will be done when every African American War hero who served in WWI and WWII, and who is objectively entitled to receive the Medal of Honor, actually receives it."

On June 2, President Barack Obama posthumously bestowed the Medal of Honor on Johnson.

Another important upcoming event is the Independence Day ceremony on Saturday at 4 St. Paul's Church, 897 S. Columbus Ave. The Old Village Green is famous for its connection with the patriotic printer John Peter Zenger and the establishment of an American free press. A concert begins at 10:30 a.m. followed by a program that includes a tolling of the bells and a reciting of the Declaration of Independence for the 130th year by a member of the Banning family.

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