BUFFALO, N.Y. — The African American Veterans Monument was unveiled Saturday at Buffalo's Naval and Military Park.
The monument is the first of its kind across the nation.
This has been six years in the making.
The monument has 12 columns and will light up at night. There are also bricks that have the names of African Americans who have served our country.
There are 550 with names right now, and many families were excited to see the names of loved ones who deserve their names there.
There are 5,000 bricks in total.
Construction began on this $1.8 million monument back in April. It was funded by the state and on a local level with many contributors, including Delaware North, West Herr, M&T, the list goes on.
Channel 2 is also a proud sponsor.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes is the one who had the idea to bring this monument to Buffalo.
The artist, a local man named Jonathan Casey, died in 2020. But his design includes 12 columns to represent the 12 wars that African American veterans have fought in.
They light up because when a soldier was away from home their loved ones would put a candle in the window until they came back.
"This is the first African American monument in the country that honors veterans in all the wars. Many areas and many spots may have a statue that honors Blacks in Vietnam or something. But there's no other monument that honors all the wars with African Americans and that's why this is very unique," said Warren Galloway, president of the board of directors at the African American Veterans Monument.
Added Peoples-Stokes: "There's not a war this country has ever been in that somebody who looked like me wasn't on the frontlines. Not ever. And they're going to understand that because school children are going to take visits to this monument not just from Buffalo and Western New York but around the world."
All the bricks here that are unmarked, about 4,500, are for sale. So if you are a veteran and would like to buy one for yourself or a family member, it costs $250.
Click here to visit the AAVM website.