(MyFoxBoston.com) – Sergeant Jessie James Jackson, 92, stood proudly Thursday to receive a medal that was long overdue.
Jackson is a Marine and World War II Veteran. He said he wanted to enlist the moment he saw the uniforms, and he did in 1942. It was a different corps back then, he said.
Before he was shipped off to war he was fighting one from within. Camp Lejune was segregated. Jackson was amongst the first group of African American Marines to enlist. He was one of 20,000 known as the Montford Point Marines. They were given their own area to live in. If they wanted to go to the main area on base, they had to be accompanied by a white Marine, but Jackson says he didn't really care about that.
"When I walked into the corps I figured I was gonna take over the corps, nobody but nobody takes over the corps," he said.
In June of 2012, several Montford Point Marines were granted a medal in Washington, but due to an administrative error, Jackson was overlooked. And that brings us to now.
Congressman Bill Keating says he helped get the attention of the White House. Two years later Jackson is getting the medal he earned.
For highly ranked Major Stanley Calixite, it's inspiring. He says Jackson paved the way for marines like him.
Facing adversity, getting skipped over for a medal and Jackson just keeps smiling maintaining a tenacious attitude, but he is glad this day finally came.
"I'll be 93 in June, but I like I got the medal. It's gorgeous!!
Jackson said the day he received the medal was the best day of his life.