The observance of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Bureau of Colored Troops in the District occurred this week, only a few days before Memorial Day. It seems fitting that the sesquicentennial of the Colored Troops Bureau falls close to the day originally set aside to remember those killed in the Civil War.
More than 180,000 African American soldiers and sailors served in the Union Army and Navy. Nearly 68,000 died.
Those African American service members were honored Wednesday at a wreath-laying ceremony and a program at the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum on Vermont Avenue NW.
The event, organized by the museum’s founder and director, Frank Smith, was well-attended and inspirational but low-key. There was not even a cameo appearance by Mayor Vincent Gray or a member of the D.C. Council. If any D.C. elected official sent a representative to the commemoration, the gesture went unannounced and unnoticed.
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