|BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan , Feb. 27, 2006 — Black History Month was celebrated at Bagram Airfield Feb. 24. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Department of Defense civilians and other members of the Coalition force gathered in the Bagram “clamshell” to recognize the contributions and achievements of African-Americans around the world.
Black History Month dates back to 1925, when an African-American historian campaigned to have a ‘Negro History Week’ to honor the importance of black accomplishments and contributions in the United States.
The Bagram celebration included a slideshow, poem recitation, musical performance by a choir of service members and motivational words from a guest speaker, Maj. Cynthia Coleman, Aviation Brigade Adjutant for the 10th Mountain Division.
Coleman focused on this year’s Black History Month theme of “Reaching out to youth: a strategy for excellence”.
“Living by the Army values and the Soldier’s Creed, is a great way to reach out to our youth,” Coleman said. “But, if we are to tell our children that the sky’s the limit, then we need to live it.”
She emphasized that it’s education and hard work that are the keys to success, regardless of race.
Coleman also focused on the progress the United States, and particularly the military, has made in civil rights and equality.
“I’m not going to tell you that I was denied a promotion because of skin color and that’s a good thing,” she said. “It means we’ve come a long way.”
Coleman believes the military is on the forefront of equal opportunity.
“It fosters an environment that exists regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin,” she said.