Sunday, November 18, 2018
Legion Members Help Break Ground for African American Veterans Memorial
BUFFALO – Members of the American Legion participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 9 for a memorial that will pay tribute to African American veterans in Western New York. The memorial at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park will consist of 12 pillars representing 12 military conflicts in which African Americans fought, plus a brick foundation inscribed with names of the fallen.
Among the participants were members of Jessie Clipper American Legion Post 430, named after the first Buffalo African American to die in World War I.
“We as African Americans have been shedding our blood for this country since its very inception,” Vietnam Veteran Walter Cole told WKBW news.
“May these hallow grounds be a place where all people may gather to remember that it was not just one gender, one race, not just one heritage, that served our country with bravery and loyalty,” noted Darius Pridgen, Buffalo Common Council president and U.S. Air Force veteran .
Vietnam Veteran Ken Stevens told WKBW that he hopes the memorial will educate students on the African American soldiers that were once forgotten.
Construction of the monument will begin next spring, with plans for completion by Veterans Day 2019.