Black veterans from Harlem’s American Legion Col. Charles Young Post #398 mark Memorial Day by attending the city’s annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on the Upper West Side on Monday.
The veterans from the post sat in the front rows at the morning ceremony that was hosted by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Association. Hundreds of people including military personnel, elected officials and families attended the event. Those serving in the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marines in the city for Fleet Week also came out.
Speakers at the ceremony included Mayor Michael Bloomberg who spoke about the importance of honoring those who lost their lives for the nation in war.
Along with several other military organizations, the Col. Charles Young Post laid a wreath in honor of those who have died in combat. The New York Metro Chapter of the Montford Marine Association, an organization made up of Black U.S. Marine veterans, also laid a wreath. Major General Nathaniel James, president of Harlem’s 369th Historical Society Museum, was in attendance and recognized at the ceremony as well.
The Col. Charles Young Post helped start the annual Memorial Day celebration at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. E. Randy Dupree, commander for the post, said that it’s important for all Americans to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.
“Memorial Day is a day we honor the people who have passed away and died for this country,” he said. “African-Americans have been in the service and died for this county and we should celebrate them.”
Following the ceremony the Col. Charles Young Post hosted a Memorial Day barbecue in the afternoon for the community at their Harlem facility.
Throughout the year the over 250 members of the Col Charles Young Post help veterans and their families. The organization also offers programs to seniors and youth and sponsors a Little League softball team in Harlem.