During a special Black History Month celebration presented by the Bennett-Wells American Legion Post and Auxiliary No. 1780, Congressman Brian Higgins honored more than 50 veterans who served during the Vietnam War.
Higgins said, “Fifty years ago, this country failed to properly welcome our Vietnam veterans home. And therefore, it is especially significant to be here, at the Bennett-Wells American Legion Post, a place that represents great history and leadership in recognizing and welcoming all service members. While we can’t undo the unjustified reception veterans received years ago, we can work today and each day forward to appropriately express the sincere appreciation these veterans deserve for their commitment and selfless service to this country.”
After World War II, over 100 African Americans retuning to Buffalo were not welcome to join existing American Legion posts. Those veterans worked together to form the Bennett-Wells American Legion Post, established in 1946 and chartered in 1954. The post is named in honor of the first two African American soldiers killed in World War II, Pvt. James Bennett and Lt. Johnson Wells.
The America Vietnam War Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the secretary of defense, and launched to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. It pledges to honor U.S. veterans who served on active duty in the armed forces between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, regardless of location.
The commemoration is taking place nationwide, with the presentation of Vietnam War commemoration pins presented between Memorial Day 2012 through Veterans Day 2025. Higgins’s office is a registered commemorative partner, committed to honoring Vietnam veterans over the designated anniversary period.