Congressional Gold Medal Wreath Laying Ceremony for 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
The Wreath Laying Ceremony for the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, who were known as Six Triple Eight (6888th) was in honor of their being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the 117th Congress of the United States of America for their service. It was approved by President Biden on March 14, 2022.
The 6888th was the only all -Black, all female Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Unit that served overseas during World War II. The mission of the 6888th was to sort a three year backlog of undelivered mail for the U.S. Service men/women in France and England. The 6888th deployed in 1945 to Birmingham England with 855 women of that number 30 were officers.
No one expected these women to complete their mission but to everyone’s surprise they completed their mission in half the time they were given by improving the sorting of mail system, and working around the clock in shifts, including the weekend. The Six Triple Eight Motto was: ‘No Mail, Low Morale”. Today, there are only six of these women living.
The Congressional Gold Medal Wreath Laying Ceremony was held on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, 720 East Florence Avenue, Inglewood , CA 90301. Inglewood was chosen because it's the final resting place of four members of the 6888th. Their names are: Lydia Ester Thornton Moore, Elizabeth Moppins Eastman, Ethel Christina Loving Henderson and Annie Lee Proctor Reed. The weather was perfect, a blue sky, sunny and not hot. It was still Women’s History Month, a perfect time to celebrate these remarkable women of 6888th. Although, these women will never know they received the Congressional Gold Medal because it was 70 years late. Some of their family members were present and will tell the story of their mother, their grandmothers for generations to come & never forget. Just as we will continue to share the history of the 6888th and their accomplishments to their country.
Under the leadership of 1SG (Ret) John Williams, Jr. the George Washington Preparatory High School Army JROTC Color Guard opened the ceremony. Dr. Felicia Banks opened the program with a warm welcome to 6888th family members, and guests. James Butts, Mayor of Inglewood gave warm remarks to 6888th family members and guests. Mayor Butts also performed one of the Wreath Layings with 1SG John Williams, Jr. Also, COL (Ret) Irma Cooper & 1SG (Ret) John Williams, Jr., completed the Wreath Laying Ceremony for another 6888th member in the same area. The Keynote Speaker was Virginia Wimmer, Deputy Secretary, Cal Vet Women Affairs. 6888th Road to the Gold was COL (RET) Irma Cooper, President of Women in Service & Vice-President San Gabriel Valley NAACP.
Daphne “Dee” Wright, Navy Veteran, wrote a poem in honor of the 6888th, titled, “I AM NOT INVISIBLE”. As Daphne read the poem there was not a dry eye. Audra Jefferson, a Navy Veteran and soloist sang the National Anthem, Black National Anthem & a favorite song of the 6888th, Sam Cooke’s, “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Elaine Lister, the Harpist played beautiful music throughout the program. There were many other notable citizens and organizations present who made brief remarks. Special thanks goes to all the family members who were present, Inglewood Park Cemetery Administration & Staff who made it possible and all our sponsors. The ceremony was recorded and it will be available soon. CW2 (Ret) Latia Suttle later performed the 3rd Wreath Laying on the opposite side of the Inglewood Park Cemetery and a Mausoleum Placement at the 4th location.
COL(Ret) Irma Cooper, Vice President