BUFFALO, N.Y. — Western New York has an important landmark. It is the African American Veterans Monument.
In September, the wraps were taken off the new monument at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "I'm really hoping that from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of my heart, that people are getting it, that we are in this together, that we are going to go together or we are going to fall together."
She was a mover and shaker for the project that was six years in the making.
Perry Civils served 25 years in the Navy.
"I'm so happy that we have a monument here, honoring all the African Americans who served through the years, this just makes me so proud and so happy," Civils said.
It is an overdue salute and a place for veterans to visit and remember but also take pride in their place in history and their service to country.
Jeffrey Elder was a member of the Air Force One crew.
"Being a young black man from Niagara Falls, New York, I never dreamed that I would have served three different presidents on Air Force One and that they would call me by my first name," Elder said.
The African American Veterans Monument recognizes the contributions of African Americans who have served and are currently serving in all six branches of the military, during war and in peace times.
African Americans have fought in all 12 of the United States’ military conflicts since the country’s first war, whether they enlisted voluntarily, or were drafted. This monument honors the contributions made by African American veterans.
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