WWII veteran-turned-civil rights lawyer from Baton Rouge awarded Purple Coronary heart | Information

A 101-year World War II veteran injured on D-Day but kept fighting and then returning to Baton Rouge to fight as a frontline civil rights advocate was awarded a Purple Heart medal on Saturday for the im Battle were wounded.

The ceremony for Johnnie Jones, who became the first African American warrant officer in the U.S. Army after joining the military from Southern University in 1943, was held at the Old State Capital and was attended by officials, family, friends and veterans.

Jones sat in a chair on the stage in his dressing gown, greeting veterans who stood next to him to speak on the podium in an hour-long ceremony highlighted by speakers who worked with and were inspired by Jones.

“He lived a life of extraordinary courage and heroism,” said Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.

After US Senator Bill Cassidy removed the Purple Heart Medal from its case and attached it to Jones’ jacket, the applauding audience gave Jones a long-lasting ovation.

The event also included a video covering Jones’ military service and career as a lawyer, with on-screen interviews with Jones.

He spoke of how he once escaped an assassination attempt during his year in the civil rights movement by jumping out of his car after it behaved strangely while turning the key and escaping the explosion.

He made the audience laugh when he said on the screen, “As a parent, I knew how to jump.”

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Jones said that in the years following the early civil rights movement, young people seem to have failed to take up what he attributes to the poor education they had at the time.

“But today young people seem to know what it’s about – because of education,” he said.

Jones was wounded on the beaches of Normandy, suffered hip injuries and also shrapnel wounds, but continued to serve and fought in the Battle of the Bulge on the Western Front.

Jones graduated from Southern University with a law degree in 1953 – and 15 days after graduating, he was asked to represent those participating in the Baton Rouge bus boycott.

Rev. TJ Jemison asked him to act as an attorney for those who participated in the two-week protest, a protest that two years later served as a guide to the Montgomery bus boycott.

Jones, who practiced law until the age of 93, served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 1976.

In the closing comments of his on-screen interview, Jones said, “Even if I had to talk about it hard, this is the best country in the world.”

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