Statue to honor African-American WWI veteran planned for LA National Cemetery

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On this Veterans Day, World War I Sgt. Henry Johnson is being remembered and honored at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood.

Johnson was one of the African-American soldiers in the 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters. They were assigned to fight alongside the allied French Army and fought against the Germans.

He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by former President Barack Obama in 2015 for his bravery.

A larger-than-life-sized statue of Johnson has been proposed for the cemetery's World War I Centennial Monument.

Sculptor Manuelita Brown was chosen to sculpt the statue and has already made a 2-foot tall bronze model.

"He actually defended his company, I'm not sure how large the group was, but the company from the attack on the Germans by fending them off solo, ultimately with his bolo knife, which is why you see him here with the knife," Brown said. "Literally, there were 20 or more Germans that he was defending against."

A campaign to fund the monument will soon be launched.

The statue featuring Johnson would stand 13 feet high. It is set to be completed by next Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, 2018, which would be 100 years after the end of World War I.

A total of 2,200 World War I veterans are buried in the LANC.
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