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FYI: Senate President Pays Tribute to Fallen Soldiers

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Senate President Lorraine L. Berry on Monday (05.30.05) gave remarks to the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Roosevelt Park which paid tribute to veterans who lost their lives in service to their country. Senator Berry said Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices of thousands of men and women from the Virgin Islands who "paid the ultimate price for our freedom."
The day commenced with the laying of a wreath and flag raising ceremony followed by a procession up Main Street to the Coast Guard Dock for a seaside ceremony and casting of a wreath with a final walk to Roosevelt Park for the ceremony. Senate President Berry participated in all events of the day.
"They have fought for the freedom of the people of the world, who today enjoy their new democracies, the world over, and who can fully participate in the elections of their own leaders," Berry said.
The Senate President noted that while Virgin Islanders celebrate the sacrifices of its veterans, it is ironic and painful to see and know that our fallen soldiers who were victorious in war, decorated with the badges of service were unable to participate in a democracy that allowed them to vote for the Commander-in-Chief who sent them to war. "Our second class status must be resolved and full participation in the American way of life where we can cast our vote for the President of the United States should be the commitment of every single citizen of this United States Virgin Islands," Berry emphasized.
In her remarks, Senator Berry pointed out that in President Bush's Memorial Day Proclamation he made no reference to the governor's of the Unincorporated Territories of the United States. The Senate President urged each resident to become advocates for change, and advocates for the full participation of the Virgin Islands in the American political process, declaring, "so that the blood that has been shed by our Virgin Islands men and women in war, in defense of the freedom of America will not be in vain."
In closing, Senator Berry indicated that the Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities would "ring hollow" if the conditions for Virgin Islands veterans is not improved. Berry said she is working with her colleagues to realize a veteran's center in John Dunkoe. In addition, the Senate President said the 26th Legislature is in full support of special home and land ownership programs, health care, jobs and disability programs for Virgin Islands military personnel who have been honorably discharged. "These are the real issues of the 26th Legislature as we seek to honor our military persons by providing services and support," Berry concluded.

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