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Albany County honors soldiers in Black History Month event

Wayne Jackson

February is Black History Month, and this year, the national theme is "African Americans in Times of War."

Albany County kicked off the month Friday with an event that showcased the men and women who don't always get the recognition they deserve.

"When you're fighting on the same side you should be on the same side, but sometimes it's not that way."

In celebration of Black History Month, Albany County invited veterans to explain what it's like to be a black soldier in the history of the United States. They've fought not only on the battlefield, but they've also fought against discrimination.

County Executive Dan McCoy says we need to look at how far we've come, and how much further we need to go.

"If you think about the men and women who served in uniform who never got recognized for certain awards or certain promotions because of the color of their skin and that's why it's really important to have this discussion this month," he said.

Decorated Vietnam Army Veteran Wayne Jackson, born and raised in Albany, moderated the panel discussion.

He said said when he served, being black and in the military wasn't always easy.

"How they were treated in wartime fighting for our country where sometimes you weren't treated as a human being in-country, but better out-country in a war zone, than you were at home," said Jackson, who is sergeant at arms for the New York State Assembly.

Each panelist shared their personal stories.... Sharing how they dealt with fellow soldiers who saw color as an issue.

Army NY national guard veteran Cory Cush feels the military has come a long way. "I've been lucky throughout my career, I have 32 years in, I'm a command sgt major which is the highest enlisted rank. The message is, there's diversity, I've made it and others who look like me can make it also."

It was a little over two years ago that Albany's own Sgt. Henry Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

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