BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — One veteran came home after a more than six-decade absence.
Major James Capers Jr. left Bishopville in the early 1950s to escape discrimination in the South, and he went on to have a decorated service in the United States Marine Corps.
At the start of his service, Major Capers was one of very few African American men to serve in the Marines, and he was the first African American to serve in the elite Force Recon. But even though he fought for his country, Major Capers says when he would come back home, he wasn’t treated with much respect.
“When I would come back, I couldn’t get a drink of water at certain places, I couldn’t sit at any restaurant, I had to sit in the back of the bus," Major Capers says."That’s what it was like growing up.”
During his 22-years of service, Major Capers was award a Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.
On Monday. a ceremony was held in his hometown honoring his service and dedication to the country.
“I can come in Bishopville and I can sit in any restaurant I can ride the bus I don’t have to sit in the back so I’m grateful to see the progress we made," Major Capers says. "No matter where I’ve gone I’ve always come home to Bishopville."
Since leaving the Marine Corps, Major Capers has continued his service by helping active and former service members overcome PTSD.