African American veterans honored at recent ceremony
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, IDVA, recently hosted a tribute to African American veterans at the National Guard Armory in Urbana. The ceremony honored all African American veterans.
“We are here today to salute and honor all African American veterans. Since our nation’s war for independence, these brave veterans have served honorably in the United States military,” IDVA director Erica Jeffries said.
Jeffries noted that African American soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen and Marines have participated in the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the current war on terrorism.
“They have served in peacetime and times of war. We thank them for their service to our country,” Jeffries said.
Col. Eugene Scott and Mrs. Beverly Scott were the keynote speakers at the ceremony.
Col. Scott is the former publisher of the Chicago Daily Defender newspaper and past president of the Chicago Defender Charities.
He commanded tank forces and was the staff officer (G3) for the 8th Infantry Division Combat Ready Forces.
A decorated combat veteran, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam. His awards include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Beverly Scott is a writer and executive director of Friends of the Victory Monument.
Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr., adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, offered remarks at the ceremony.
Hayes is the senior officer in the chain-of-command for both the Illinois Army and Air National Guard.