Eglin celebrates Juneteenth

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

EGLN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Eglin celebrated Juneteenth National Independence Day June 13.  This year’s theme is “Celebrate Freedom.”

The day commemorates the end of enslavement in the United States.  Juneteenth recognizes the accomplishments of enslaved African Americans and their many contributions to the nation.

The official end of slavery was June 19, 1865, when the Emancipation Proclamation was read to enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas.  Texas was the last Confederate state to surrender to the Union Army.

President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law June 17, 2021, making June 19 a national holiday.

Sabu Williams, Okaloosa County NAACP branch president, Air Force veteran and retired civil servant, was the guest speaker.

“Juneteenth didn’t just happen, to end slavery,” he said.  “Freedom comes at a price.  From the moment enslaved people reached these shores, to the time they were informed they were free, countless sacrifices were made.  But there is still work to be done.”

Williams encouraged the audience to remain vigilant on protecting and preserving freedom.

Karen Brown, an Army veteran and local entrepreneur, shared why Juneteenth is a federal holiday.

“Juneteenth acknowledges not only black history, but also military history,” she said.  “The many challenges enslaved people faced, and the many battles our miliary members fought to free the slaves, makes Juneteenth worthy of being a federal holiday.”

Dale Marks, 96th Test Wing Director, gave closing remarks. 

Juneteenth is a holiday for all of us,” he said.  “When we forget to remember our history, we lose sight of who we are.  This is an incredibly important day, and I’m glad we have this opportunity to reflect and commemorate it.”