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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, August 7, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesTransfer Day Commemoration Looks Toward Centennial Anniversary

Transfer Day Commemoration Looks Toward Centennial Anniversary

With the 97th Transfer Day commemoration taking place Monday at St. Croix’s Carl and Marie Lawaetz Family Museum, the U.S. Virgin Islands inched closer to celebrating its 100 year anniversary as a part of the United States.

Now comes the hard part – preparing and being ready for that centennial celebration.

From the messages delivered during Transfer Day 2014, it’s clear all eyes are on the number 100 and the three year countdown is on. Even the official theme of this year’s commemoration – Embracing our Cultural Traditions as a Bridge to the 2017 Centennial – suggested the big 100 is nearing and is on the minds of many.

Hans Lawaetz, the president of the St. Croix Friends of Denmark Society, welcomed attendees with the news that the first meeting of the committee on the 100th Transfer Day celebration would take place later that afternoon with representatives from both the V.I. Government and Denmark participating.

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Lawaetz even added that the museum itself was in the midst of its own transformation to “a real Danish farm, again producing something.”

He quipped his grandfather used it as a dairy farm.

In his remarks, Jarl Frijs-Madsen, the Consul General of Denmark in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said both the Danish government and the territory’s government were committed to making the 2017 celebration “significant and memorable.”

Frijs-Madsen also mentioned an ongoing digitization project where 4.5 million pages of Danish archives are being scanned and transcribed in time for public viewing by the centennial so that everyone will better understand the history of what the Danish West Indies were and what the U.S. Virgin Islands now are.

“We should never forget the past nor deny that there are parts of the history that we’d rather have been without,” Frijs-Madsen said.

He said the territory and Denmark both had bright futures ahead of themselves working together and that being able to better meet the effects of climate change was common ground they could conquer together.

Denmark, he said, would be the first carbon-neutral country in the world by 2050.

Senator Shawn-Michael Malone recalled commemorating Transfer Day since his youth and through multiple jobs in multiple branches of government. Moving forward, he said, he wanted more U.S. government participation in honoring the occasion.

In a press release issued prior to the ceremony, Malone said the territory deserved full votes in Congress and a fair share in federal benefits and the presidential vote.

He referenced those remarks in the message he delivered Monday afternoon and asked for the territory’s total inclusion into the American family.

“Unless we are treated equally then the transfer really isn’t complete, but that’s a subject for a different day,” he said.

Delegate Donna M. Christensen spoke following Malone and admitted that regarding 2017 preparations, “the United States was lagging behind.”

She added, though, that a meeting had taken place in Washington, D.C., last week concerning the 2017 centennial celebration and that, besides Congressional officials attending, there were also representatives from both the U.S. State Department and the Department of the Interior.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them to make sure they’re fully integrated into the plans and become fully engaged with us as we move to 2017,” Christensen said.

Christensen received applause in referencing her recent budget testimony where, like Malone, she said that she also wants complete equality for the territory’s citizenry.

“I mentioned then one of the goals in 2017 should be full equality for Virgin Islanders as American citizens,” she said.

When Gov. John deJongh Jr. spoke, he also mentioned that first meeting taking place later in the afternoon in Frederiksted concerning 2017 preparations.

“We’ll begin to plan for the next three years and try to figure out what do we want to say, what do we want to do and, most importantly in my mind, where do we want to go,” deJongh said. “We can’t change history and what history offered us, but we can very much understand what it means for our future.”

The governor also said he wasn’t that concerned about federal government participation in the process but rather was more concerned with getting the University of the Virgin Islands and local community organizations more involved.

People applauded when the governor said that what would be even greater by 2017 would be to have a Virgin Islands Constitution in place.

“That would be an accomplishment for us to show our own self-determination,” he said.

DeJongh concluded his remarks with a few thoughts on the 2017 centennial Transfer Day celebration.

“If there is anything we can give our children for the next two to three years, it’s the ability to understand their history and have faith in their future,” he said.

“We want our community to understand what 2017 means,” he added. “It means a forward movement. It means togetherness, and a richness of our culture and an acceptance of all people.”

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With the 97th Transfer Day commemoration taking place Monday at St. Croix’s Carl and Marie Lawaetz Family Museum, the U.S. Virgin Islands inched closer to celebrating its 100 year anniversary as a part of the United States.

Now comes the hard part – preparing and being ready for that centennial celebration.

From the messages delivered during Transfer Day 2014, it’s clear all eyes are on the number 100 and the three year countdown is on. Even the official theme of this year’s commemoration – Embracing our Cultural Traditions as a Bridge to the 2017 Centennial – suggested the big 100 is nearing and is on the minds of many.

Hans Lawaetz, the president of the St. Croix Friends of Denmark Society, welcomed attendees with the news that the first meeting of the committee on the 100th Transfer Day celebration would take place later that afternoon with representatives from both the V.I. Government and Denmark participating.

Lawaetz even added that the museum itself was in the midst of its own transformation to “a real Danish farm, again producing something.”

He quipped his grandfather used it as a dairy farm.

In his remarks, Jarl Frijs-Madsen, the Consul General of Denmark in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said both the Danish government and the territory’s government were committed to making the 2017 celebration “significant and memorable.”

Frijs-Madsen also mentioned an ongoing digitization project where 4.5 million pages of Danish archives are being scanned and transcribed in time for public viewing by the centennial so that everyone will better understand the history of what the Danish West Indies were and what the U.S. Virgin Islands now are.

“We should never forget the past nor deny that there are parts of the history that we’d rather have been without,” Frijs-Madsen said.

He said the territory and Denmark both had bright futures ahead of themselves working together and that being able to better meet the effects of climate change was common ground they could conquer together.

Denmark, he said, would be the first carbon-neutral country in the world by 2050.

Senator Shawn-Michael Malone recalled commemorating Transfer Day since his youth and through multiple jobs in multiple branches of government. Moving forward, he said, he wanted more U.S. government participation in honoring the occasion.

In a press release issued prior to the ceremony, Malone said the territory deserved full votes in Congress and a fair share in federal benefits and the presidential vote.

He referenced those remarks in the message he delivered Monday afternoon and asked for the territory’s total inclusion into the American family.

“Unless we are treated equally then the transfer really isn’t complete, but that’s a subject for a different day,” he said.

Delegate Donna M. Christensen spoke following Malone and admitted that regarding 2017 preparations, “the United States was lagging behind.”

She added, though, that a meeting had taken place in Washington, D.C., last week concerning the 2017 centennial celebration and that, besides Congressional officials attending, there were also representatives from both the U.S. State Department and the Department of the Interior.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them to make sure they’re fully integrated into the plans and become fully engaged with us as we move to 2017,” Christensen said.

Christensen received applause in referencing her recent budget testimony where, like Malone, she said that she also wants complete equality for the territory’s citizenry.

“I mentioned then one of the goals in 2017 should be full equality for Virgin Islanders as American citizens,” she said.

When Gov. John deJongh Jr. spoke, he also mentioned that first meeting taking place later in the afternoon in Frederiksted concerning 2017 preparations.

“We’ll begin to plan for the next three years and try to figure out what do we want to say, what do we want to do and, most importantly in my mind, where do we want to go,” deJongh said. “We can’t change history and what history offered us, but we can very much understand what it means for our future.”

The governor also said he wasn’t that concerned about federal government participation in the process but rather was more concerned with getting the University of the Virgin Islands and local community organizations more involved.

People applauded when the governor said that what would be even greater by 2017 would be to have a Virgin Islands Constitution in place.

“That would be an accomplishment for us to show our own self-determination,” he said.

DeJongh concluded his remarks with a few thoughts on the 2017 centennial Transfer Day celebration.

“If there is anything we can give our children for the next two to three years, it’s the ability to understand their history and have faith in their future,” he said.

“We want our community to understand what 2017 means,” he added. “It means a forward movement. It means togetherness, and a richness of our culture and an acceptance of all people.”