Let's not forget our black heroes of the Navy and Army in the War of 1812; those that put up a heroic fight at the battle of Bladensburg, Md.which slowed the British down, but were out numbered.
I think those slaves and free men who fought in the Civil War were pioneers and heroes, just as the "Buffalo Soldiers" were heroes and pioneers. Those who fought in the war of 1812 were also heroes and some were the sons of those who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Bottom line is; they were all heroes.
Every war has a different beginning, reason and focus.
WW2 was very different than Korea. I was in Korea,1951.
Korea was very different than Viet Nam and Viet Nam is very different from the Gulf Wars. In Korea we had regular ambushes by what appeared to be civilians and the same in Viet Nam. You never knew who was the enemy; as in Viet Nam, as in Iraq.
When folks have some basic questions about what they are fighting for, or what is the objective, or are you regular Army or a draftee, then you begin to get different performances. Some Koreans were biased toward Black soldiers and thought white soldiers were No.1 and black soldiers were No.10. This doesn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling about who you're fighting for.
In "Nam", folks were wondering why we there in the first place. This lowers your hero average somewhat.
Different Strokes for Different Wars!