As one of their community service projects, more than 450 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps high school students from 13 Detroit Public Schools, along with 400 additional cadets from the Detroit Metropolitan area, paid tribute to the members of the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops who are buried at Elmwood Historic Cemetery in a Veterans Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, November 12, 2012.
During this 28th Annual Veterans Day program, the ceremony included a Presentation of the Wreaths; Recognition of Veteran Groups; Presentation of the Roses for the 102nd U.S. Civil War Troops and North American Indians, Taps and more.
DPS cadets began participating in the Veterans Day ceremony in 1985 providing Color Guard and flag details. In 1995, as the event grew, the DPS JROTC program took on a more active role in assisting Mrs. Beulah Hamilton, the event founder, with the coordination. Since her passing in 2011, it has been left to the DPS JROTC program to continue this tradition of honoring the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops on Veterans Day. The DPS JROTC Director, LTC James Lee and Mr. Robert Middleton, President of the Montford Point Marine Association, now co-chair this event.
This year’s participants included dignitaries, as well as representatives from more than 20 military and veteran’s organizations, including Tuskegee Airmen, Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th and the North American Indian Association.
The ceremony honored 20 African-American and Native-American troops who were buried at Elmwood after the Civil War.
Since 1920, Detroit Public Schools has had a strong tradition of JROTC participation among its high school students. The current Corps of Cadets consists of 2,723 students in 13 high schools, which is 22 percent of the district’s high school student population. DPS hosts 11 Army programs, one Air Force program and one Navy program, the most in Michigan.
Photos by Harold Harris