(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
Saturday was a day of remembrance for residents of Roxbury and the surrounding communities as they came together to reflect on the people of color who gave their lives defending the United States.
Held at the Edward O. Gourdin Veterans Memorial Park in Dudley Square, the 9th Annual African-American Military Heritage Day, worked to honor those who served in the U.S. Military and extol the lessons that could be taken from their service.
“These are the people who laid the foundation for the future generations that we have coming up,” said Randy Tatum, the nephew of Edward O. Gourdin. “It’s good we have the children here recognizing what this history means, because without them knowing the history how can they go forward.”
While Saturday’s ceremonies recognized the sacrifices many people of color have made, the ceremony highlighted one individual in particular for his service.
Participants spoke at length about Sargent William E. Carter, a Spanish-American War and World War One veteran, who has an American Legion Post in Mattapan, the first American Legion Post in Boston, named in his honor.
“William E. Carter, 1858 -1918, was one of the defenders of America we will honor on Veterans Day,” said Emanuel P. Horne, great-grandson of Carter. “When the Spanish American war started the United States called black and white men to arms and William E. Carter was one of those men.”
Saturday’s ceremonies included a parade down Shawmut Avenue of current military units and veterans from the William E. Carter Post, along with poignant remarks by the veterans.
“One of the first things you learn [when you go into the military] is you go in as ‘I’ and come out as ‘we’. It doesn’t matter what color you are,” said Robert Greene, the commander of the Carter post. “Sometimes in life we get caught up in color, but a solider is a solider no matter what color.”