Veterans Day, observed annually on November 11, honors persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. Willie Leon McGee, 77, a retired U.S. Army Military Police Staff Sergeant (1960-1980) proudly participates in a special tribute service each Veterans Day Sunday with the Cascade United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.
McGee, a member of the Cascade UMC, Atlanta, Ga., combines his love of golf with his service as a Trooper of the Buffalo Soldiers Ninth and Tenth (Horse) Calvary Association– Atlanta Chapter. A 5-year Trooper, McGee engages in history presentations at schools and other organizations, sharing the story of the Buffalo Soldiers and their work that was conducted while riding horses and bicycles in the West.
“Many were recruited out of New Orleans, La., but, could not serve in the South, only North of the Mason-Dixon line,” says McGee. Today, at annual Buffalo Soldier reunions a golf tournament is sometimes held and McGee is often involved: Atlanta, GA. (2015), Houston, TX (2016) and Kansas City, KS (2017).
“After the emancipation proclamation was signed, and slaves were freed, the 9th and 10th Calvary of the Buffalo Soldiers were activated as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army,” says McGee. “And, what they endured–I respect and I cherish because they went through holy hell! In my opinion, if they had not laid that foundation, black people would not be as successful in the military as they are today…. and our young folks need to know our history.”