Veterans Day 2019 paid tribute to all veterans and honored the legacy of Colonel Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers who served at the San Francisco Presidio and Monterey Presidio.
During the U.S. Civil War, U.S. Colored Troops were finally allowed to serve, thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1866, by U.S. Congressional Act, men of Pan African ancestry were allowed join the regular U.S. Army and serve as Buffalo Soldiers beginning in 1866.
Often, Buffalo Soldiers served in very harsh conditions and were subject to many illnesses directly related to their military service. Some suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), long before medical science diagnosed the disease as directly related to military service.
He was also the first Black U.S. national park superintendent, first Black military attaché, first Black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army, and highest-ranking Black officer in the regular army until his death in 1922.
“I am honored to lend my time, energy and resources to honor the over 500 Buffalo Soldiers are buried at the SF Presidio. Together, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue this special 2019 Veterans Day to celebrate a positive new way forward. We must acknowledge the difficult past challenges and prepare for amazing new opportunities highlighting the living legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, here in California and the Pan African Diaspora,” said Michael Harris, co-chair of the California Buffalo Soldiers.
2019 Veterans Day Weekend at the SF Presidio was also a special day to recognize the self-guided historic tour and Buffalo Soldiers walk from the Presidio Officers’ Club to the San Francisco National Cemetery.