During World War II, John Moton Jr.
valiantly defended his country, having enlisted in the Navy in 1939 just before the war began. He was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, serving on the battleship Tennessee:
He was at the officers' mess on the Tennessee when the Japanese began their attack on Pearl Harbor. He ran to his battle station on the deck below the anti-aircraft battery on the ship's bow…
The Tennessee was hit by bombs but fared better than the nearby battleship Arizona, which blew up when a bomb struck its powder magazines.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, he later served on a U.S. Navy ship in the Atlantic.
But it would be 65 years – a lifetime – before Moton received the service medals he’d earned. When the St. Louis resident was finally given his medals last year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Moton and his long-awaited medal ceremony.
"We are very grateful for your service," said U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, who presented Moton with his medals.
Earlier this week, Moton passed away in his sleep at the age of 93. We are grateful too – grateful for Mr. Moton’s service to his country, and grateful that he received the recognition he deserved.
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Written by Jessica Campbell