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HomeNewsArchivesHundreds Turn Out to Honor Veterans on St. Croix

Hundreds Turn Out to Honor Veterans on St. Croix

Nov. 11, 2008 — The crowd at the Veterans Day parade and ceremony Tuesday on St. Croix was estimated at about 800 strong, with the whole parade route, from Bassin Triangle to Fort Christiansvaern, lined with spectators.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. watched the parade from the shady side of King Street on the steps of Government House. Some speakers and police officers said it was the largest crowd ever.
"I have never seen a Veterans Day parade like the size of this one today," said Curtis E. Williams, master of ceremonies and commander of American Legion Post 133. "I hope this support continues."
The lush and spacious green at the fort held the crowd comfortably, with old soldiers even able to sit under the shade of a large tree. Santa Cruz Brass, seated in chairs along side the bandstand, played military marches while numerous dignitaries sat inside the bandstand, along with an empty chair representing a POW/MIA.
Veteran Cyril Barnes, 97, sat in the bandstand, too, honored as the oldest American Legion member and a World War II veteran.
"The title of veteran must be earned," said Morris Moorehead, V.I. Director of Veteran's Affairs. "They serve with courage and sacrifice — putting their life on the line."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen said it was the biggest Veterans Day ceremony she had ever attended.
"Congress and the Veterans Administration are making the issues, concerns and needs of veterans a highest priority," Christensen said.
She recognized the two Legionnaires of the Year, Desmond Crossley and Christopher Simmonds. The governor drew a connection between the Veterans Day events and the recent election, which saw the first African-American ever elected president, Barack Obama.
"We recognize the sacrifice veterans made for us," deJongh said. "This day is to show our gratitude. But this year is different — America has over come social and psychological barriers in electing the president."
The governor also pointed out that 2008 is different because so many youth had chosen to participate in the observance.
"I'm so happy to see such a large crowd," said Melbourne Clark, American Legion commander, 10th District, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. "This is a day set aside for remembrance and reflection."
The guest speaker was Sgt Maj. John D. Gipe of the 8th Command.
"Remember those who answer the call and run to the guns," he said.
Local spectator Josie-Anne Lake said it was nice seeing so many young people and children attending.
"It gives them a meaning to the uniform they see so often," Lake said.
Marching in the parade were the usual military units such as the Army and Air Force National Guard, the V.I. National Guard, Jr. ROTC, American Legion and American Legion Ladies Auxiliary. A dozen friends and family of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Red Tails, also marched. Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and the Seventh Day Adventist Path Finders showed youthful community spirit, taking part in the parade. The St. Croix Educational Complex Marching Barracudas joined the parade with majorettes, flag bearers, dancers and the marching band all dressed in shades of royal blue.
Bringing up the rear of the parade was a camouflage Hummer and heavy guard equipment. From the look in some little boys' eyes, that is what made the parade worthwhile.
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Nov. 11, 2008 -- The crowd at the Veterans Day parade and ceremony Tuesday on St. Croix was estimated at about 800 strong, with the whole parade route, from Bassin Triangle to Fort Christiansvaern, lined with spectators.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. watched the parade from the shady side of King Street on the steps of Government House. Some speakers and police officers said it was the largest crowd ever.
"I have never seen a Veterans Day parade like the size of this one today," said Curtis E. Williams, master of ceremonies and commander of American Legion Post 133. "I hope this support continues."
The lush and spacious green at the fort held the crowd comfortably, with old soldiers even able to sit under the shade of a large tree. Santa Cruz Brass, seated in chairs along side the bandstand, played military marches while numerous dignitaries sat inside the bandstand, along with an empty chair representing a POW/MIA.
Veteran Cyril Barnes, 97, sat in the bandstand, too, honored as the oldest American Legion member and a World War II veteran.
"The title of veteran must be earned," said Morris Moorehead, V.I. Director of Veteran's Affairs. "They serve with courage and sacrifice -- putting their life on the line."
Delegate Donna M. Christensen said it was the biggest Veterans Day ceremony she had ever attended.
"Congress and the Veterans Administration are making the issues, concerns and needs of veterans a highest priority," Christensen said.
She recognized the two Legionnaires of the Year, Desmond Crossley and Christopher Simmonds. The governor drew a connection between the Veterans Day events and the recent election, which saw the first African-American ever elected president, Barack Obama.
"We recognize the sacrifice veterans made for us," deJongh said. "This day is to show our gratitude. But this year is different -- America has over come social and psychological barriers in electing the president."
The governor also pointed out that 2008 is different because so many youth had chosen to participate in the observance.
"I'm so happy to see such a large crowd," said Melbourne Clark, American Legion commander, 10th District, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. "This is a day set aside for remembrance and reflection."
The guest speaker was Sgt Maj. John D. Gipe of the 8th Command.
"Remember those who answer the call and run to the guns," he said.
Local spectator Josie-Anne Lake said it was nice seeing so many young people and children attending.
"It gives them a meaning to the uniform they see so often," Lake said.
Marching in the parade were the usual military units such as the Army and Air Force National Guard, the V.I. National Guard, Jr. ROTC, American Legion and American Legion Ladies Auxiliary. A dozen friends and family of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Red Tails, also marched. Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and the Seventh Day Adventist Path Finders showed youthful community spirit, taking part in the parade. The St. Croix Educational Complex Marching Barracudas joined the parade with majorettes, flag bearers, dancers and the marching band all dressed in shades of royal blue.
Bringing up the rear of the parade was a camouflage Hummer and heavy guard equipment. From the look in some little boys' eyes, that is what made the parade worthwhile.
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.