CBS reported that a ceremony in Buffalo, New York, unveiled the nation’s first monument that honors the African American veterans who served in all 12 United States wars, including the Revolutionary War.
The historic ceremony occurred on Saturday at the Buffalo Naval Park and had Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Byron Brown, and other politicians in attendance.
“This monument will exemplify everything we look for in our Black soldiers,” said Legislator Howard Johnson, a veteran himself. “They were our heroes. They were our leaders. Our Black soldiers served in a spirit of excellence, making sure that all Americans could enjoy the bastion of freedom.”
The monument consists of 12 black pillars representing the country’s 12 major wars African American veterans fought and bricks with the names of some African American veterans on the ground surrounding the pillars. And despite fighting for their country’s freedom, many still dealt with the country’s segregation.
“Having this monument is very important as many of our black soldiers were not able to enjoy the fruits and labor, and this monument will keep their heroism and their sacrifice they gave to our country alive,” Johnson said.
Congressman Brian Higgins gave a speech about how the country has struggled for years to steer away from its discriminatory practices.
“The promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was not a promise that we kept to them, but they still fought,” Congressman Higgins said. ”46 years, 12 wars, every way in the history of this country courageous military service in the grateful nation, but not grateful enough to remove fully the segregation and discrimination that still exists today.”
The monument serves not only to include all aspects of American history but to give those African American heroes their well-deserved recognition, promote unity, and enforce change. It was designed by a local artist named Jonathan Casey, who died in 2020.
There are bricks without names for those whose loved ones weren’t included in the monument. A brick can be secured via the African American Veterans Monument website.