A Vietnam War hero honored more than 50 years later - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

A Vietnam War hero honored more than 50 years later

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
LEXINGTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As folks celebrate the land of the free and home of the brave, Private First Class Milton Lee Olive is being remembered for not only his bravery, but payment of the ultimate sacrifice.

Lexington is a small town. Many of its residents packed into the multi-purpose center to honor one of its residents who had a big impact. The crowd was bussed to the town square.

Olive was just 18-years-old. He was thousands of miles away in the jungle and became a hero.

"Private First Class Olive saw the grenade and then saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the sacrifice of his own by grabbing the grenade in his hand and falling on it to absorb the blast with his body," explained Major General Janson Boyles, Adjutant General of Mississippi.

"He and my sister were sweethearts," noted Sgt. Leonard Hampton. "Milton was a real fine, outrageous young man. He was somebody that you could trust in. Someone that would lay his life down for others. He did what he wanted to do to save others."

Olive later became the first African American to receive the medal of honor for the Vietnam War.

Olive's family has watched as other monuments were erected in his memory, even a park is dedicated in Olive's name at Navy Pier in Chicago, but Tuesday's ceremony was different.

"To us, it's everything," said Olive's cousin Bonita Porter Spurlock. "We can bring every generation to this courthouse lawn and we can show them that monument."

A young lady in town first heard the story of Olive's service when she was 11-years-old. Her questions of where his Holmes County monument was put the wheels into motion for Tuesday's ceremony.

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