Greg Desrosiers/TSM[/caption]It's been years in the making, but the mural dedicated to the famed Civil War 54th Regiment was officially unveiled Saturday afternoon.

A ceremony at Custom House Square included a variety of speakers highlighting the importance of preserving the history of African American military service.

Mayor Jon Mitchell says the mural depicts the city's rich history of serving others throughout the centuries.

"New Bedford is diverse, New Bedford is welcoming, New Bedford sees the good in people because that is a big part of our culture, it's a vein that runs through us all the way going back 200 years and that's something worth celebrating and that's what this piece does. It says a lot about who we are," Mitchell said.

The mural was presented by the New Bedford Artist in Residence partners, which include the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, New Bedford Historical Society, New Bedford Whaling National Park, UMass Dartmouth, and the Whaling History Alliance.

The mural also highlights the city's own Sgt. William H. Carney, the first African American to receive the medal of honor for his actions at battle of Fort Wagner.

The mural can be seen on the west wall of the Freestone's restaurant.