February is African American History Month, a time during which we honor the many contributions made to our country by African Americans. This year's commemoration continues the tradition of excellence started by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, by honoring those brave African Americans that served in the Civil War.

Over the course of the war, 4 million people of African descent in the United States, free and enslaved blacks rallied around the Union flag in the cause of freedom. They served as recruiters, soldiers, nurses, and spies, and endured unequal treatment, massacres, and riots as they pursued their quest for freedom and equality. Their sacrifice and accomplishments helped transform the Army, and all Americans should realize that the efforts of African American Soldiers and civilians greatly contributed to the fight to save the Union.

As in generations past, African Americans have played a significant role in the success of the Army. As generals, officers, senior non-commissioned officers, Soldiers and civilians, African Americans have served as role models for the nation for which they have so proudly served. It is important that we express our gratitude for the past and present contributions and sacrifices they have made in the success of the Army and this nation.

During the period from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, the Army will honor and recognize African American military and civil service at all levels with U.S. Army events to be held at installations throughout the Army. Local community participation both on and off the installations will also be held in the form of events, activities, speeches, lunches and symposiums.

The Army celebrates numerous occasions throughout the year. All ethnicities, genders and ages are recognized in one way or another with appropriate events and activities. Time permitting, Army senior leaders actively participate in these activities and encourage all Army personnel to do so.

Page last updated Mon February 14th, 2011 at 00:00