BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The African American Veterans Monument project is getting a big boost from a prominent local business.

“It is going to be a first-of-its-kind anywhere in the nation. I think it will be a great tribute to Buffalo, and for the people who have a very blue-collar approach not only in supporting the military but supporting veterans in a number of different ways,” said Paul Marzello, CEO, Naval and Military Park.

The monument will also be unique among the displays at the Naval and Military Park.

Four years in the making, the memorial will consist of twelve 10-foot columns, representing each of America’s armed conflicts, including the death of an escaped slave in the Boston Massacre before the American Revolution.

“The first person killed in the Revolutionary War was an African American. So we have been part of it, and in spite of all the two battles going on, with segregation and fighting, when the call came out for fighting the wars, we always responded,” added Warren Galloway, chairman, Monument Committee.

Despite years of a segregated military, the monument is intended to be a unifier.

“When we look back and realize that we all served in the same wars, we all provided the same service to this country then there’s no reason for us to be divided. In fact, there are reasons for us to be engaged,” said Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Buffalo.

“I just think it is so important to give the African American community the recognition they deserve, and I think they have not received the recognition, in many cases, they deserve for what they have done to make this country as great as it is,” added Scott Bieler, chairman, West Herr Automotive.

The monument committee plans to break ground for the memorial as soon as we get a real break in the weather and hold a ribbon-cutting by early fall.

You can help with additional costs for the monument by clicking here.

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