BAGHDAD - "Iron Brigade" Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi- National Division - Baghdad, hosted a Black History Month observance luncheon in the Camp Striker dining facility, Feb. 24.

The luncheon included live performances from the Camp Striker Choir and Gospel Praise Dance Team along with presentations detailing the lives of important African-American figures in American history.

"There are a lot of things that we've accomplished over the years," said 1st Sgt. Leon Brown II, of Milpitas, Calif., the luncheon's guest speaker. "Barack Obama being the first black president is a huge accomplishment, but in that accomplishment let us not forget those that have come before us."

The luncheon attendees included a wide mixture of Soldiers from different ethnicities and backgrounds; similar to the Army's makeup.

"This theme of strength in diversity is absolutely true in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and we always emphasize that in the team," said Lt. Col. Jason Kirk, of Shreveport, La., the brigade's executive officer.

Although today's equal opportunity situation for minority groups is far better than it was many years ago, Black History Month provides one way for people to remember how far America, and the Army, has come.

"I believe it is important for us as African-Americans to actually embrace our history and embrace our culture," said Brown. "But I believe it is also important for us not to exclude other ethnicities and other minorities, because although African-Americans have really done a lot in this country and have fought and bled, there are others who have done the same."

Black History Month is just one of many other monthly cultural events that Iron Brigade Soldiers observe, even while deployed to Iraq.