LACKAWANNA, NY - "Black history is United States history," the words of a niece who searched her family's military history. Elaine Mootry learned that not one, not two, but five of her uncles who lived in Lackawanna served in WWII.
Edward, Samuel, Robert, Glover and Sharon served at a time when the U.S. Armed Forces was segregated.
They never saw one another once they left Western New York. Mootry learned that her uncle Glover served in the 459th division which "was part of a pilot project in which they pulled together this whole Negro unit and over that Negro unit there were white officers and they trained them before going overseas."
It is unclear what role her other uncles had in WWII. "I will keep digging for the rest of the four to see what they did, I'm quite sure they were an instrumental part of this history too," said Mootry.
The brothers were from a family of eleven children. A sixth son enlisted in the Navy years later.
The family says the veterans never talked about their military service. Recently, the family was honored to receive dozens of medals earned by the five Jackson brothers, through the office of Congressman Brian Higgins (D-26th).
"The Jackson brothers showed tremendous courage and sacrifice when their country needed them the most," said Congressman Higgins. "It was truly my honor to present the Jackson family with medals that recognize the brothers' dedicated service and will serve as keepsakes of a family's legacy and commitment to this great nation."