Sept. 11, 2004 – "I will always be there," Shane Goldman wrote to his father. He then listed beaches and bars Breezez, Changes in L'Attitude where they would be together on St. Croix. But, he meant it spiritually, not physically. He wrote those words in a letter that was sealed and would only be delivered to his father George "Scooter" Goldman, if Shane did not make it back from Iraq. Shane didn't make it back. He was killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province on April 5.
The letter was read to about 75 people attending a candlelight service on the Christiansted boardwalk Saturday. The elder Goldman's voice broke with emotion as he told the crowd how proud he was of his son and how much he loved him. Shane was a resident of Texas, but visited his father in St. Croix. His father, a popular figure around St. Croix for several years now, is a supervisor for Turner St. Croix Maintenance.
Another emotional moment during the event came when Peter Des Jardins, columnist for the Avis, read his poem about the last minutes of a man jumping from the World Trade Center. A woman came up to Des Jardins after the event and said it was the best poem she had ever heard.
The Christiansted event, organized by St. Croix United and Krewe de St. Croix, has been held annually since the terrorist attack. Goldman had spoken of his son's service in Iraq at last year's event. This was Shane's second tour of duty in Iraq. He wrote his father, "They don't like us like they did the first time." He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Division, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Besides sad moments the event also had many musical moments. Marty Merrick and Friends provided most of the music. The numbers included "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America The Beautiful."
One performance that seemed especially pleasing to the crowd was that by the Central High School Unarmed Drill Team. The team executed complicated drill exercises in the small space of boardwalk at the end of Queen Cross Street.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards said the events of three years ago remain "frozen in time." He read a proclamation from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull calling it a "day of remembrance" for those who died because of the terrorist attack and for those giving their lives in the fight against terrorism.
Delegate Donna Christensen also spoke. She read a quote from former President William Clinton, which said the challenge of the future was to fight terrorism without compromising the principles that made America great.
The lieutenant governor and the delegate both mentioned the V.I. soldiers killed in Iraq Staff Sgt. Kendall Thomas and Pfc. Jason Lynch.
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