The African American Veterans Panel Discussion played to a standing-room-only crowd, says event organizer Leonard Hammonds II. Hammonds II told the New Pittsburgh Courier that veterans of all eras discussed their service, sacrifices and unique experiences during the Nov. 4 event at the Comfort Inn ballroom in Penn Hills. Both Hammonds II and his wife, LaShaundra, are veterans. LaShaundra Hammonds was part of the panel, as were Craig Williams, Craig Williams, Mitch Rose, and TV/Radio broadcaster Chris Moore. Hammonds II served as moderator.
Jim Rooney, of The Pittsburgh Steelers, was on hand to show his support and appreciation of African American Veterans for their unique sacrifices and courage. World War II veterans, Henry Parham and Charles Wiggins, were in attendance and received a standing ovation.
Hammonds II told the Courier the panel discussed the current hot topic, the Colin Kaepernick protest, of which the panel was in full support of Kaepernick. Kaepernick is the professional football player who decided not to stand for the national anthem a few years ago, prompting a national debate on the topic. The panel also discussed the question, “Why are African Americans overrepresented in the U.S. military?” Many questions were asked of the Vietnam veterans on the panel such as, “What was it like fighting in Vietnam and returning to Jim Crow?”
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