FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — On June 19th, we commemorate the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States known, in short, as Juneteenth.
Our nation’s Civil War ended on May 9, 1865. Not until more than one month later, on June 19th, 1865, Union Soldiers relayed the message in Galveston, Texas that formerly enslaved African Americans were now free.
Two and a half years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation stated that all people enslaved in states rebelling against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However, even after the war, skirmishes, scattered resistance, and slavery continued in Texas, where there had been no large-scale fighting or a significant presence of Union troops.
In the period following what we now know as Juneteenth, slavery was outlawed by the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution in December 1865. Since then, our nation has undergone great periods of change – which continue even now - to strive toward achieving the dreams of our founders and fellow Americans.
We honor and remember Juneteenth and the lessons of history; we want to educate our nation, our military, and our Fort Leonard Wood team. We encourage each of you to reflect upon the promises of freedom and continue to work together toward equity and opportunity. On Juneteenth, we also honor the generations of Americans whose unpaid labor and service built our nation. And, we reaffirm our commitment to develop and inspire current and future generations to serve in our honorable Profession, one which honors and protects dignity and respect for all people.
Victory Starts Here…Victory Through Skill!