BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Today was a special day in Buffalo. At the Hangar Building in the Erie County Naval Park the first national monument honoring African American veterans was announced.

This Saturday city leaders gathered at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park to honor African American veterans. These veterans served in all five branches of the military during times of war and some were not honored when returning home. The monument that is coming to the naval park, hopes to change that.

Council president, Darius Pridgen told News 4, “We’re here today because there were men and women who were told and asked why are you here, we can do this without you. But they really could not do it without you.”

One Vietnam veteran, Walter J. Cole, told News 4, “We have fought in every war that this country has participated in and we have been mistreated. Even, I in Vietnam. So it’s about time, it’s about time.”

The monument will be 12 black concrete pillars. Each will be 10 feet tall and 3 feet wide. They represent the 12 military conflicts that took place and will be places in chronological order based off of the dates in which they occurred. They will also illuminate representing a guiding light to bring the soldiers home.

Cole said, “I feel wonderful about being here. A lot of times history is buried and you don’t know things and it’s wonderful that the city of Buffalo is going to be the founding place for this.”

Construction on the monument is set to begin in 2018, but first the city needs to raise money in order to get the ball rolling. They estimate that 800,000 dollars is enough to complete the project. If you would like to donate, you can purchase an engraved paver that will line the walkways of the monument for $250.00. If you would just like to contribute monetarily click here for details on how.