African-Americans honored during February
March 9, 2011
By Amy Sunseri
FORT HUACHUAC, Ariz. -- Close to 250 Soldiers, civilians and community members gathered at the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre on Fort Huachuca, Feb. 23, to celebrate African-American/Black History Month.
In 1976, the month of February was officially named Black History month. February was chosen as the month to celebrate because it contains birthdays of some of the biggest supporters of Black history, stated Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Holiday, Military Intelligence Corps command sergeant major, in his opening remarks.
"I encourage you to study and learn more about our heritage and its history. I ask that we continue to keep the spirit of the celebration alive," Holiday told those in attendance.
This year's national theme is, "African-Americans and the civil war; civil war to civil rights and beyond." It was fitting that the guest speaker at Fort Huachuca's celebration was Frank Martin, producer, writer and director of "For Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots." A short video clip of the four-hour documentary was viewed at the event.
"The documentary asks and answers a very important question, and that question is why would someone shed their blood in defense of a nation that treated them less than equal. The answer to that question is relevant to all Americans and it very graphically speaks to the price of liberty," Martin explained.
The film is a collection of letters, diaries, speeches and journalistic accounts that span the Revolution until today. Martin explained that the film is an attempt to help people understand what has gone on before, "It's just a compelling story that really speaks to who we are as a nation."
The film took Martin 10 years to make, something he says he couldn't have done without the support of the United States Army. It is currently airing on the television station, PBS [Public Broadcasting Service].
Brig. Gen. Gregg Potter, Fort Huachuca's commanding general, presented Martin with a Buffalo Soldier statue and a framed letter and coin while thanking him for making the film and sharing his time with Fort Huachuca.
Potter stated, "I also think it's appropriate that you're here at Huachuca because this is home of the Buffalo Soldier ... and there's a lot of history here."
"We must remember that African-Americans history is more than just a month set aside each year by celebrating," Holiday told the audience during the closing remarks. He went on to say it has accomplished dreams and struggles that have echoed across our nation for centuries.
Potter ended his remarks by telling those in attendance to "Look to your left and your right. The person you see may not look like you, but they're your brothers and sisters fighting for freedom and equality."
The event ended with a cultural food sampling.