MSCoE CG and CSM Send: Juneteenth is a time to reflect on hard-fought steps taken for equality

By Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, and MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph DelapenaJune 14, 2022

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On June 19, Juneteenth National Independence Day, we commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States and the formal extension of liberties enumerated in the Declaration of Independence to Black-Americans whose freedom and dignity were for so long denied.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the Confederate States on January 1, 1863. Texas resisted the order for more than two years, even after the Civil War ended, until Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan led a force of Soldiers to Galveston, Texas where he assumed command of the military district and began to enforce the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Also known as Jubilee Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth began as a holiday within Black-American communities and is now a federal holiday.

For many, Juneteenth is seen as a day of independence and reflection upon the hard fought steps we have taken toward equality for all. For the Army, this day honors Soldiers who fought and sacrificed to ensure that the United States fulfills its constitutional obligations.

We encourage everyone to take time over this long weekend to learn more of the history of Juneteenth and understand how our country’s painful chapter with slavery continues to affect our teammates. By understanding their backgrounds and thoughts, we may help each other grow stronger and continue our commitment to equality, treating everyone with dignity, and honoring the diversity of our great nation.

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