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Work to Help Vets Adjust, Veterans Day Speakers Urge

Nov. 12, 2007 — Speakers at the Veterans Day ceremony at Budhoe Park Monday all touched a common theme: Help veterans transition back to civilian life.
"We often fall short of promises to help veterans," said Lt Gov. Gregory Francis. "Vets often struggle. This great nation can do better, must do better. It is our obligation and duty to help."
At the end of the ceremony, Francis came back to the microphone and said he would chair the fund-raising effort for a new American Legion Hall. He challenged each V.I. National Guardsman present to kick in $25.
The St Croix Veterans Day parade started promptly at 9:30 a.m., beginning at Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, then moved along King Street with viewers lining the whole route. This year's crowd was larger than last year's, said Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
In the parade were the V.I. National Guard, Junior ROTC, Frederiksted and Christiansted American Legion and the Legion's Women's Auxiliary, Christiansted and Peter's Rest Seventh Day Adventist Youth Pathfinders and Boy Scouts. Various National Guard vehicles, including a bright yellow Hummer, a fire truck and rescue squad ambulance made up the remainder of the parade.
The master of ceremonies for the program was Curtis E. Williams, commander of American Legion Post 133. Williams mentioned the empty chair the legion members always set up at ceremonies in remembrance of and to continue to spare no efforts to release prisoners of war.
The keynote speech was made by Col. Elton Lewis, assistant adjutant general for the V.I. National Guard and former police commissioner. Lewis told the large crowd gathered around the gazebo they must remember veterans of the past, such as Henry E. Rohlsen of the Tuskegee Airmen.
"Rohlsen set the standards for rights and equality," Lewis said. "The men in segregated units should be honored for what they endured."
The larger the number of veterans registered, the better enhanced the services will be, he said.
"I would like each one (veteran) to bring one to register for services," Lewis said.
Melbourne Clarke, commander of the 10th District of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, told the crowd it is smart business to hire vets. Michael Thurlong, representative for Delegate Donna M. Christiansen, said she is always striving to move ahead on legislation to support veterans.
An award accepted by Lewis was presented to the 78th Quartermaster Battalion, which returned from Iraq Oct. 21. Six members of the detachment were from St. Croix.
Hyacinth Hendricks, an auxiliary member of unit 85 in Christiansted, said Veterans Day is a very important day to her because her father and husband were veterans. Her daughter, Chenelle Hendricks, is currently in the 661st division of VING. Her son-in-law, Jodany Brown, is serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.
"I honor them because fighting for freedom is not an easy thing to do," Hendricks said.
Veterans were also honored Saturday at an American Legion ball:
— District legionnaire of the year, Post 85: Amos L. Sealey;
— Post 90 legionnaire of the year: Martin Tuohy;
— Post 102 legionnaire of the year: Secundino Roman-Cruz;
— Post 131 legionnaire of the year: Paul Divine; and
— Post 133 legionnaire of the year: David Lang.
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Nov. 12, 2007 -- Speakers at the Veterans Day ceremony at Budhoe Park Monday all touched a common theme: Help veterans transition back to civilian life.
"We often fall short of promises to help veterans," said Lt Gov. Gregory Francis. "Vets often struggle. This great nation can do better, must do better. It is our obligation and duty to help."
At the end of the ceremony, Francis came back to the microphone and said he would chair the fund-raising effort for a new American Legion Hall. He challenged each V.I. National Guardsman present to kick in $25.
The St Croix Veterans Day parade started promptly at 9:30 a.m., beginning at Claude O. Markoe Elementary School, then moved along King Street with viewers lining the whole route. This year's crowd was larger than last year's, said Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
In the parade were the V.I. National Guard, Junior ROTC, Frederiksted and Christiansted American Legion and the Legion's Women's Auxiliary, Christiansted and Peter's Rest Seventh Day Adventist Youth Pathfinders and Boy Scouts. Various National Guard vehicles, including a bright yellow Hummer, a fire truck and rescue squad ambulance made up the remainder of the parade.
The master of ceremonies for the program was Curtis E. Williams, commander of American Legion Post 133. Williams mentioned the empty chair the legion members always set up at ceremonies in remembrance of and to continue to spare no efforts to release prisoners of war.
The keynote speech was made by Col. Elton Lewis, assistant adjutant general for the V.I. National Guard and former police commissioner. Lewis told the large crowd gathered around the gazebo they must remember veterans of the past, such as Henry E. Rohlsen of the Tuskegee Airmen.
"Rohlsen set the standards for rights and equality," Lewis said. "The men in segregated units should be honored for what they endured."
The larger the number of veterans registered, the better enhanced the services will be, he said.
"I would like each one (veteran) to bring one to register for services," Lewis said.
Melbourne Clarke, commander of the 10th District of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, told the crowd it is smart business to hire vets. Michael Thurlong, representative for Delegate Donna M. Christiansen, said she is always striving to move ahead on legislation to support veterans.
An award accepted by Lewis was presented to the 78th Quartermaster Battalion, which returned from Iraq Oct. 21. Six members of the detachment were from St. Croix.
Hyacinth Hendricks, an auxiliary member of unit 85 in Christiansted, said Veterans Day is a very important day to her because her father and husband were veterans. Her daughter, Chenelle Hendricks, is currently in the 661st division of VING. Her son-in-law, Jodany Brown, is serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.
"I honor them because fighting for freedom is not an easy thing to do," Hendricks said.
Veterans were also honored Saturday at an American Legion ball:
-- District legionnaire of the year, Post 85: Amos L. Sealey;
-- Post 90 legionnaire of the year: Martin Tuohy;
-- Post 102 legionnaire of the year: Secundino Roman-Cruz;
-- Post 131 legionnaire of the year: Paul Divine; and
-- Post 133 legionnaire of the year: David Lang.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.