President Barack Obama awarded 24 Jewish, Hispanic, and African American veterans Medals of Honor they’d earned but never received in a ceremony Tuesday.
Many of the honorees were already deceased—including one Jewish man from Brooklyn named Lenny Kravitz. If the name sounds familiar it’s because a certain musician and “Hunger Games” star was named after his uncle.
Obama even called out the elder and younger Kravitzs in his address, saying, “These families join us here today. And they know, more than most, that because others laid down their lives for us, we’ve been able to live our lives in freedom, pursue our dreams. So there’s a legacy here born of sacrifice. That includes a soldier’s nephew—a kid from New York—who grew up to become one of the great rock stars of all time and who honors his uncle here today.”
“It’s a wonderful thing to be here today to be a part of this and to see him get his honor,” said the younger Kravitz in an interview before the ceremony. “It’s part of who I am. I am Leonard Kravitz.”
Here’s what the US Army had to say about Private Kravitz:
Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company M, 5th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Yangpyong, Korea on March 6 and 7, 1951. After friendly elements had repulsed two probing attacks, the enemy launched a fanatical banzai charge with heavy supporting fire and, despite staggering losses, pressed the assault with ruthless determination. When the machine gunner was wounded in the initial phase of the action, Private First Class Kravitz immediately seized the weapon and poured devastating fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants. The enemy effected and exploited a breach on the left flank, rendering the friendly positions untenable. Upon order to withdraw, Private First Class Kravitz voluntarily remained to provide protective fire for the retiring elements. Detecting enemy troops moving toward friendly positions, Private First Class Kravitz swept the hostile soldiers with deadly, accurate fire, killing the entire group. His destructive retaliation caused the enemy to concentrate vicious fire on his position and enabled the friendly elements to withdraw. Later, after friendly troops had returned, Private First Class Kravitz was found dead behind the gun he had so heroically manned, surrounded by numerous enemy dead. Private First Class Kravitz’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.