The sacrifice and courage of African American soldiers who fought in the country's Civil War was finally honoured in Washington on Saturday.
Thousands gathered in the nations capital to unveil the African American Civil War Memorial.
It honours more than 200-thousand African Americans who served in the war more than 130 years ago.
The stars and stripes of America's flag were lowered to reveal the statue in bronze honouring African Americans who fought in the war between the states.
Hundreds crowded around the statue glowing in the afternoon sunlight, just a few blocks from the U-S Capitol.
Saturday's unveiling offered the first official effort but, the African American Civil War Memorial cost more than two-(m)million dollars.
And for many gathered here the ceremony was a pilgrimage into the past - and a chance to get in touch with history.
There was much symbolism and emotion for onlookers.
Some of them are descendants of African Americans who fought in the Civil War of the 1860's.
The unveiling occurs 135 years to the day after the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, nearly all African American, staged a bloody assault on Confederate troops.
Their valour was the subject of the Hollywood film "Glory".
And the regiment's current corps of Civil War re-enactors were honoured guests at the ceremony.
There was also a special message from the President of the United States.
"....And this powerful memorial will be a lasting reminder that the values of the U-S coloured troops struggled to preserve more than a century ago must still be defended today."
SUPER CAPTION: Ben Johnson, Deputy Assistant to President Bill
On hand for the ceremony were a sizeable contingent of Civil War re-enactors.
They're part of a growing number of people in America helping to revive Civil War history.
The men here proudly wear the uniforms of some of the more than 160 African American regiments organised during the Civil War.
Enis Scroggins came from Oklahoma.
He's like many who came from all over the U-S to see the monument, to honour fallen soldiers, and to give thanks.
"...I think this is a blessing. We've been praying for this and God has delivered it to us today."
SUPER CAPTION: Reverend Enis Scroggins, Civil War re enactor
Other African American re-enactors say the monument represents a long overdue tribute to their ancestors - some of whom escaped slavery to serve, to fight, and to die more than a century ago.
"It's representing a whole lot, that these guys are finally getting due respect that they should be getting after so many years of being forgotten. And we done on these uniforms for the rights they didn't have, we now do have because of their sacrifice."
SUPER CAPTION: Stefan Jones, Civil War re enactor
African-American veterans fought a long battle for public recognition of their sacrifice in the Civil War.
Some 10 percent of Union soldiers were black and one-third of the black soldiers died in service.
Black Civil War veterans were not allowed to march in the Union's victory parade in Washington after the war.
But Saturday their descendants joined re-enactors and others in a parade to mark the service of those soldiers.
Indeed, Saturday's ceremony brought families together to remember their ancestors.
These descendants say the Civil War monument is helping them honour ancestors who fought for a goal they could only dream of.
"Oh, it's just wonderful. And we just...we appreciate the fact that they did this: that we could come here and it would give us a chance to march in their place when they were not able to celebrate after the war."
SUPER CAPTION: Madeleine Scott, descendant of Civil War veteran
"It brought a new consciousness to me that these men, having made the sacrifice that they did and under the circumstances that they were under, dying and having the foresight knowing that something was going to change in the future, not knowing what that something was going to be."
SUPER CAPTION: Moses Easley, descendant of Civil War veteran
With the African American Civil War Memorial, Moses Easely and others hope a new generation will gain a better understanding of their ancestor's sacrifice.