WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) - Congress honored the first African-American Marines with the congressional gold medal today.
It's the highest civilian honor...a symbol of national appreciation for achievements and contributions.
The recipients, known as the Montford Point Marines, include more than 19-thousand African American recruits who trained at the segregated, North Carolina post in the 1940's.
Many went on to serve in World War II, but were kept out of combat by leaders who considered African Americans unfit to serve.
At least 350 of the Marines attended the Washington ceremony.
Senator McCaskill also met with Missouri Montford Point Marines in D.C.; here are some pictures from the meeting, with Lawrence Diggs of Columbia, Mo., Charles Lockett of St. Louis, Robert Motley of Kansas City, and John Tilghman of St. Peters, Mo.