Black Medal of Honor recipient buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Vernon Baker holds a very special place in American history and Friday, the World War II veteran was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. His wife traveled from Idaho for the special ceremony.


Vernon Baker, Medal of Honor recipient
An old photo of Vernon Baker in action.

Vernon Baker was never properly recognized by the military, but his family says the military hero never once complained about it. Instead, he fought for equal rights for black Americans.

For years, Vernon Baker's wife didn't know what her husband accomplished in World War II. Baker's wife says he never spoke about the war until decades later when the Army lieutenant was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Clinton in 1996. He found out about his Medal of Honor in a phone call.

An Army study reevaluated the heroism of blacks in World War II. Baker was the only living black World War II veteran to receive the military's highest honor.

When asked what she thought Baker would have said Friday, Heidy Baker replied, "My husband wasn't for crowds...he would have said, 'too many people, babe, let's go.'"

He passed away in July from brain cancer at age 90. Friday, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Walking behind the Medal of Honor flag were three other recipients.

"I feel like I abandoned my husband. I have to leave him behind and that's the worst feeling," said Heidy Baker on Friday.

At the burial, Baker's stepgrandson, who is named after his grandfather, told us he didn't say anything regarding his legacy. "He just considered himself just a simple soldier and nothing else. He did this job and that was it," said his stepgrandson.

Baker's family didn't have enough money to travel to Washington, D.C. for his funeral. Her community in Idaho raised $22,000 for them.

The left over money is being used to renovate the Baker family home, which was in poor shape.