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This year as we celebrate Civil Rights in America during African American/Black History Month, we also mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was a result of the historic march on Washington in 1963. These events are forever linked in American history. People from every creed, color and background shared in these highpoints that now bind us as a nation.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the crescendo of this countrys struggle to make America a better place for all citizens. The armed forces served as a catalyst for these and many other events set in motion by the 1948 presidential order to desegregate the military.
From African-American patriots of the Revolu-tionary War to the Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen and Soldiers who serve valiantly on freedoms frontier today, African-Americans have always selflessly served to make this nation free and equal for all. These advancements in civil rights have enabled us to field a diverse force defined by notable character.
Together, the total Army has earned Americas trust as the Strength of the Nation, and in doing so we all serve honorably to contribute to global stability and a better world.
We are truly grateful for the sacrifices and contributions of our African-American Soldiers, civilians and Families, who have played a tremendous part in the Armys success. We encourage Army units and agencies to honor these great Americans by holding appropriate commemorative activities to celebrate African American/Black History Month. Army Strong!
John M. McHugh Secretary of the Army
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno Army chief of staff
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler Sergeant Major of the Army