VA hospital focuses on unity, education for Black History Month

Through singing, poetry and speaking, the importance of Black History Month was highlighted, and a spirit of unity could be felt at Charlie Norwood.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 3:08 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2023 at 4:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are just a few days left in Black History Month.

So in observation, the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center had a ceremony this week.

“I just want to let the veterans and the local community know that it’s not just one day it’s a month and even once this month is over, the education piece is an ongoing process,” said Desmond Byrd, equal opportunity specialist and retired Army Master Sergeant.

There were two messages: unity and education.

The event also served as a reminder of how African American veterans are able to do the things they do today.

“I am very grateful for the African American veterans that made the way for me to serve in the military today,” said Briana Yancey, equal opportunity specialist and Army veteran. “I feel like there are a lot less barriers I have to face because of the sacrifices they made.”

A group of minority Army Junior ROTC cadets from the Academy of Richmond County said they realized the impact these veterans have today.

“This opportunity is very great to me,” said Quincy Holmes, an Army JROTC cadet. “I hold this very precious and dear.

“It should be important to everyone. We should celebrate. We should look on the past; we should not go back to it, but we should look back and celebrate on it and look how far we’ve come,”

Through singing, poetry and speaking, the importance of Black History Month was highlighted, and a spirit of unity could be felt.

“We serve a wide variety of veterans of all different races colors and creeds, and my hope is that when they see themselves recognized and represented that they will greater understand what we’re here to do and that we’re here to serve them no matter what they’re differences are,” Yancey said.

Cadet Kingston Nena said: “Be together as one and be one so we can all celebrate all the people that did something for us,”

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  • More benefits could be on the way for veterans, thanks to a push by Sen. Raphael Warnock and a bipartisan group of senators. Warnock is backing the Maj. Richard Star Act, named for a decorated veteran forced to retire because of combat-related injuries. The act would expand retirement and disability benefits to veterans who are not eligible. Warnock says right now, only veterans with disability ratings above 50 percent and more 20 years of service are eligible for full benefits.