General Colin L. Powell

Colin Powell

WASHINGTON, D. C. 20318-0001

The freedoms we enjoy today are only possible because of the sacrifices of the soldiers who have served this great Nation in war at various times for over 300 years. Since 1641 there has never been a time in this country when African-Americans were unwilling to serve and sacrifice for America. Before revolutionary times and through every war to the present, Black men and women have willingly served and died for their country.

During the Revolutionary War one-sixth of those who fought for freedom were black. And in every conflict since, African-Americans have worn the uniform of the United States as proudly and courageously as any other American. In every conflict we have had our heroes. Heroes ....... forever engraved in our heritage.

I am mindful of the sacrifices that were made by Black service men and women who suffered to create the conditions and set the stage for others to follow. They were of enormous ability and potential but, because of prejudice and intolerance, they were not allowed to make their full contribution to or receive their full recognition from this great country.

I am mindful, too, that the struggle is not yet over. There is still racial intolerance in this Nation. The challenge is still before us. We have to remember the past. We must continue the struggle until all barriers have fallen -- a struggle until achievement and recognition in our society are based principally on performance.


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