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Terrorist Attacks Remembered at Emancipation Garden

Sept. 11, 2006 – Approximately a dozen residents, government officials, veterans and members of the local American Legion Post 90 gathered at Emancipation Garden on Monday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and to talk about the impact those events had on the nation.
Sen. Louis P. Hill, representing Senate President Lorraine L. Berry, said: "9/11 changed how we will live our lives on a daily basis."
"And it has also, inevitably, changed the course of our history."
One of the major impacts Sept. 11 has had on the nation, and on the Virgin Islands, is the launching of a "major" war, Hill said. "And as we sit here remembering what happened, many of our sons and daughters are serving overseas, in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places around the world, because of the conflicts that came as a result of those attacks."
Hill recounted that he was on the phone with a friend when the attacks happened on Sept. 11, 2001. "He asked me if I was watching the television, and told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon," Hill said. "And I got up, and turned on the T.V., and watched the coverage for the rest of the day."
"I think that everyone will always remember what they were doing, or where they were at that moment, because the attacks will always be something that we will keep in our consciousness forever."
Other speakers during Monday's ceremony agreed with Hill's statements, calling the attacks a "heinous" and "brutal" crime against the nation.
"The citizens that were lost on that day are now seen as heroes, in an unwanted and unwarranted attack against a nation at peace," said Krim Ballentine, Post 90's commander. "We honor those persons who lost their lives on 9/11, and other situations just as grave, while attempting to enjoy the living opportunities of a free democracy. We must never allow those crimes to shut down those opportunities, and the freedoms we have earned."
To keep that from happening, Ballentine and other speakers said that the nation and the territory must "never forget" the Sept. 11 attacks, which helped the nation to "grow stronger" and become "aware of the dangers that surround us."
St. Thomas Administrator James O'Bryan, speaking on behalf of Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, said: "People lost their lives that day, and since then, defending the idea of human freedom. And that's an ideal that must and shall never die."
True to form, O'Bryan offered up a quote from Pres. Abraham Lincoln, which he said illustrated the idea that the terrorist attacks would be "forever embedded" in the "nation's psyche."
However, the nation has been steadily rebuilding since that fateful day, and will continue to defend itself against people who "take us into a dark abyss," O'Bryan added.
In the territory, efforts have been made to protect local borders and to build emergency services, according to Merwin Potter, Fire Services director. He said that a communication system is in place which connects all fire, police and other first responders in times of emergency.
"We want to make sure that nothing happens here," Potter said. "And we want to always remember the lessons we learned from 9/11, and the lives of all of those first responders and military personnel who have sacrificed themselves to defend our people."

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