Black veterans honored with unveiling of new monument

Black veterans honored with unveiling of new monument
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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Governor John Bel Edwards unveiled the Louisiana Heritage Monument at the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park to honor the service and sacrifice of all Black veterans throughout America’s history.

“It’s an honor to take part in today’s history-making event, and I’m grateful to everyone who had a hand in making this monument become a reality in such a short period of time,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is the only monument of its kind on any state capitol ground, and it’s exciting that Louisiana is leading the way in honoring the heroism of these brave men and women, especially the formerly enslaved soldiers who fought in the Siege at Port Hudson.”

In attendance at the ceremony was 98-year-old former Navy man, James Killebrew Sr., who served on the USS Tennessee.

“It’s a blessing to be a part of it,” said Killebrew. “It feels good.”

“This monument is for true patriots who loved their country even when their country didn’t love them the way it should have,” said Edwards.

The Department of Defense Lieutenant General Ronald Clark said this monument is the first of its kind on any state capitol complex.

Lt. Gen. Clark spoke at the unveiling. He spoke passionately about the symbolism of the monument.

“Our nation has found that Americans from all backgrounds have fought to protect the rights and freedoms of us,” said Clark. “But for far too long Black service members were often treated like second-class citizens, but there was nothing second-class about their service.”

Veterans from across the state gather at the unveiling including retired technical Sergeant and Commissioner Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs Richard Adams.

“This was a wonderful day,” said Adams. “Oh it is beautiful, the artist is amazing.”

The monument cast in bronze was created by Sheleen Jones a professor at Xavier University. She said it’s an honor to make this state treasure. Some of those depicted include the Tuskegee Airmen, the Buffalo Soldiers, Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, General Colin Powell, Lieutenant General Michael Langley, Brigadier General Sherian Cadoria, Colonel Margaret Bailey, and others.

“I wanted to make sure that this piece told a story of not necessarily of war but of the people who had been here for centuries and doing this service,” said Jones.

The Louisiana Heritage Monument was created by Act 432 which was authored by Sen. Gerald Boudreaux and passed with “overwhelming bipartisan support.”

The Louisiana Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Entergy, Walmart, Calvin Mills, Jr., and Liberty Bank and Trust Company funded the project.

“I’m honored to be part of this historic event, as it signifies a long-awaited recognition and tribute to the Black military heroes of the Siege at Port Hudson,” said Calvin Mills, Jr. “Their service and sacrifice, as formerly enslaved men fighting for the Union, have been overlooked for far too long. This monument not only acknowledges their bravery but serves as a symbol of the resilience and contributions of all African American soldiers throughout our nation’s history. It is my profound privilege to have played a role in ensuring that their stories are finally given the recognition they rightfully deserve.”

A moving tribute to so many men and women who did not get the recognition they deserved throughout history.

“It’s late but still honored you know,” Killebrew said.

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Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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