Buffalo Soldiers Day
July 28 is observed annually as Buffalo Soldiers Day. On this day in 1866, the first regular Army regiments of African-American soldiers were formed.
Many African-American regiments were raised by the Union Army during the Civil War. Nearly 179,000 black soldiers served in the army during the conflict. After the war was over, congress established Buffalo Soldiers as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army.
Buffalo Soldiers saw extensive action on America's Western Frontier. According to smithsonianmag.com, "It was the Native Americans they fought who gave the Buffalo Soldiers their nickname."
While the Buffalo Soldiers did not always get the praise and respect they deserved, they never failed in their duty to their country. These soldiers fought for the United States in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, and through both world wars.
On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order No. 9981, desegregating the military. Following this order, segregated regiments were disbanded as the U.S. Military moved towards full integration in all of its services.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed July 28 as Buffalo Soldiers Day. A monument to the Buffalo Soldier was dedicated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by General Colin Powell on the very first Buffalo Soldiers Day.
The Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. (Photo: kansassampler.org)
President Bush explained that Buffalo Soldiers Day was meant to celebrate the "outstanding legacy of service" by these heroes. May we never forget the relentless devotion to duty that was displayed by the Buffalo Soldiers.