The Walter Reed Army Medical Center dedicated its main auditorium Monday to the late Lawrence E. Joel of Winston-Salem, the only black medic ever to win the Medal of Honor.

This honor came to Joel's family without controversy, unlike the controversy that erupted when Winston-Salem proposed to dedicate its new coliseum to Joel. More than 400 people attended the ceremony Monday, including Joel's widow, his son and members of his regiment in Vietnam.Ben Smith, a public affairs officer at Walter Reed, said the idea for the ceremony came after the hospital decided to honor one of the enlisted members of the Army Medical Department.

``The first person I heard that suggested (Joel) was commander (of Walter Reed) himself, Maj. Gen. Richard Cameron,' Smith said.

Load comments