By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds flocked to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway today for a Veterans’ Day salute outside the All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors.

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The focus was the 20th anniversary of the relocation of that historic memorial.

For 60 years, the memorial sat in an obscure location in Fairmount Park.  It was, as mayor Michael Nutter put it today, “the memorial version of being in the back of the bus.”

(Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(Photo by Cherri Gregg)


Today, Nutter acknowledged the team of leaders and concerned citizens who orchestrated the move of the landmark twenty years ago to where it now sits, in Logan Square.

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Governor Ed Rendell, who was Philadelphia mayor at the time, says he was among those who felt soldiers of color deserved a place of prominence to be remembered.

“The debt that we owed to our African-American sailors and soldiers is substantial,” Rendell said today. “In some ways, it can never be repaid.”

Comedian-actor-philantropist-educator Bill Cosby (below), who served in the US Navy, was one of today’s keynote speakers. He said the Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors is needed so we never forget.

(Bill Cosby.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(Bill Cosby. Photo by Cherri Gregg)


“This statute is here because of a few, but it will stay because of many,” Cosby said.

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The event was organized by Pennsylvania state senator Vincent Hughes and the Committee to Restore and Relocate the All Wars Memorial.  The Committee is currently raising money for maintenance of the statue via the Philadelphia Foundation.