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Cruz Bay
Friday, February 3, 2023


The scene at Cyril E. King Airport on Saturday was probably not that different from scenes all across the country: vehicles lined up waiting to be inspected and searched so they could enter the airport grounds.
It was extraordinary to see this happening here in our beautiful, peaceful Virgin Islands. But it is a sign of the times, and it will likely get worse before it gets better.
As the rest of the nation calls for vigilance and patience after the worst terrorism attacks in history, the Virgin Islands must also realize that we are America and we are vulnerable. In fact, we are more vulnerable than many places because of our location, our topography, our laxness about security and our history as a crossroads for illegal activity, including smuggling of drugs and illegal immigrants.
Many national political leaders and editorial commentators are cautioning that America is in this war against terrorism for the long haul and must be realistic about the long-term nature of what we face.
Our leaders, our security forces and our people here in this territory must acknowledge and respond to that reality as well.
We have such minimal resources to begin with that it would be easy to beg off the job of protecting our citizenry and, in turn, our fellow U.S. citizens. It is also hard for many of us to take seriously our possible link to the larger picture of what is happening on the mainland.
But we must not separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters there. We are part of America, which makes us not only a target but also kindred souls.
All week comparisons have been made between the Sept. 11 massacre and Pearl Harbor. Remember Pearl Harbor? It was part of an island far off the mainland of America.. Hawaii was not a state at that time; it was a territory.
This is not to suggest that we should be afraid. Quite the opposite. We are an integral part of America and as such we must be the guardians of her safety with as great a commitment as any security force in any state or city in America.
We, too, as Virgin Islanders are in this for the long haul. We must keep up our vigil. We must continue to be tolerant of the changes we are going to experience, and tolerant of the vastly diverse peoples who live here. We must take the well-being of our country as seriously as anyone anywhere. We must do this with mindfulness. We must not use this state of emergency to abuse power or each other. We must be kind while being committed.
This is a war and one of the enemies is fear.
We hope and pray that the people who have been charged with minimizing our fear will take their jobs seriously and responsibly and with great care.
God bless Americans.

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