Buffalo Soldier Monument At Fort Leavenworth
In July 2009 I visited the Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Kansas. As expected from a site on an active US Army base, everything at the monument was spotless and well groomed. Signs posted on the Fort's streets made it easy to find.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember, before visiting, is that Fort Leavenworth is an active US Army base, not a museum piece. Expect a slight delay at the gate to be checked out by security personnel. If you are the person in your party who is driving in, you must produce a valid driving license, valid vehicle registration, and valid vehicle insurance. All others in your vehicle must produce a photo ID. You will need to state the purpose of your visit and open all the vehicle's doors, trunk, and possibly the hood. If further investigation is needed you will be asked to pull off into a separate lot, which happened to me. Make sure you have no firearms with you. You will at best be denied entry. If you get to the gate with one somewhere in your vehicle, tell the guard and follow their commands to the letter. All the gate personnel, both US Army and civilian, were extremely professional and helpful. Every one I spoke to was a shining example of their profession and their country.
Parking is across the street from the monument and there was an ample supply. After you cross the street and approach the entrance and you'll see a stone display with a picture of the Buffalo Soldiers making a charge. Push the button next to the speaker and listen to the audio for a brief history lesson. You will next come to a bust of a Buffalo Soldier atop a pillar with primarily information about the memorial. As you continue to descend the sidewalk you get a view of the pond and the Buffalo Soldier statue. It's quite serene. The statue is quite impressive. I like the pose of the Trooper and his steed. If bookshelf size replicas were available I'd buy one. Walk all the way around the sidewalks at the monument because there are small stone displays with information about the Buffalo Soldiers and their Cavalry units. You will also enjoy the view from below the Buffalo Soldier statue, there's a small waterfall and pond below it.
The tour of the monument doesn't take very long even if you listen to and read all the displays. It was a hot (90's) humid day but the angle of the sidewalks and stairs made for easy walking and I'm in my mid-50's. I sat on the benches provided and took in the serenity of the spot and let my mind drift back to these US Army Troopers who not only had to deal with the harshness of the Frontier Army but deal with racial prejudice and the pressure of proving of that Black Soldiers were as good as their White counterparts. I admire these men and walked back to my car with a smile on my face, knowing they had succeeded.