A Missouri woman’s thirteen year pursuit for a Medal of Honor for her father has finally paid off.
It’s been nearly a century after his heroic efforts, but World War I veteran William Shemin was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama Tuesday. His daughter, Elsie Shemin-Roth of Webster Groves and her sister Ina Bass accepted the medal at the White House on behalf of their father. Shemin-Roth and 64 members of her family attended the ceremony in Washington D.C.
At the ceremony, Obama described the scene as “what seems like a platoon of Shemins.”
“I want to invite his daughters Elsie and Ina, 86 and 83, and gorgeous, to accept this medal on their father’s behalf,” said Obama.
Obama said sometimes it takes America too long to honor those who have served.
“Sergeant Shemin served at time when the contributions and heroism of Jewish-Americans in uniform were too often overlooked,” said Obama. “But William Shemin saved American lives, he represented our nation with honor, and so it is my privilege on behalf of the American people to make this right.”
The late Sergeant William Shemin was recognized for leading his platoon to safety under heavy fire.
“Three times he raced through heavy machine gun fire, three times he carried his fellow soldiers to safety,” said Obama.
In 2002, Shemin-Roth saw and article about a congressional review taking place for Jewish military who felt anti-Semitism played a role in the medals they did or did not receive. That’s when Shemin-Roth began her mission to make sure her father received the Medal of Honor.