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A choir of service members performs at the Black History Month celebration at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2006. Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Brian Schroeder
Black History Month Celebrated at Bagram Airfield
By Staff Sgt. Marti Ribeiro
Combined Joint Task Force 76 Public Affairs
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.

U.S. Army Maj. Cynthia Coleman, Aviation Brigade Adjutant for the 10th Moutain Division, was the guest speaker for the Black History Month celebration at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2006. Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Brian Schroeder

Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, Combined Joint Task Force 76 Commander echoed the major’s comments.

“Soon we’ll have a history of America, in which it won’t be broken out by race, it will just be America,” the general said. “To understand the history of America is to understand the diversity of America.”

The major closed by quoting Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, “The question is not can we afford to invest in every child, the question is can we afford not to.”
Last Updated:
02/27/2006, Eastern Daylight Time
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