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9/11 Remembered

Sept. 12, 2007 — Commemorating the tragedy of 9/11/2001, the deadliest foreign attack on U.S. soil in our history, St. Croix veterans of American Legion Post 10 marched in uniform from Bassin Triangle to the American Legion Headquarters at Gallows Bay Tuesday morning. Adj. Gen. Renaldo Rivera and a detachment of the V.I. National Guard marched with them, and police and fire vehicles followed the solemn procession.
It was a clear, peaceful, sunny day, much like that horrific one six years ago. On every channel, on every radio and television station, here in the territory and on the mainland, the deadly attack would be remembered and discussed all day and all night. On St. Croix, The Legionnaires marched in their Legion uniforms, with pins in their garrison caps announcing their experience in Korea, at Parris Island and elsewhere around the world.
Upon reaching the Legion’s Bolling-Baldwin-Rohlsen Hall, the marchers dispersed and sat down to listen as several speakers shared their thoughts on the day.
“We pay a special tribute to the memory of the nearly 3000 who lost their lives that day,” said Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis. “And we pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of men and women working in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places in the world in the war on terror. They will continue to fight for the freedoms we enjoy.”
St. Croix Fire Chief Steven Brow recalled his colleagues who rushed into the burning World Trade Center towers, giving their lives trying to save others.
“Many of our fellow firefighters, along with police and emergency medical personnel, without concern for their lives, entered the World Trade Center that day,” Brow said. “When the towers collapsed, 60 police and 343 firefighters perished.”
Brow reminded listeners of the need to be vigilant.
“The tentacles of terror can reach where we don’t expect,” he said. “Terror is a fight we should all be involved in.”
Melbourne Clarke, commander of St. Croix’s American Legion District 10, used the occasion to share his view that troops must not be removed from Iraq.
“This must never happen,” Clarke said.
While all Americans were profoundly touched by that day of infamy, some in Tuesday’s audience were touched more directly. Legionnaire Monroe Edwards lost two family members that day. Edward’s nephew John Holland was a chef at the famous Windows on the World restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Edwards' niece Elizabeth Jacobs was an accountant in the South Tower and also perished. Edwards went to New York right after the catastrophe as a Red Cross volunteer, coincidentally returning to St. Croix on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, that year.
“It was a hell of an experience,” Edwards said. “There were tears all the way. The area smoldered for weeks and the smell of death stayed in the air.”
Ophelia Walters lost her daughter; Claudia Walters-Sutton that day. Walters-Sutton was an accountant as well.
“She was on floor 101,” Walters said. “She was very particular about being on time and we believe she had just gotten to work when the plane struck. She had kissed her children goodbye just a little before. I never ask why me, but I ask why is there such evil in the world. She left behind two children. I hope to meet her in the sweet by and by. She knew Jesus and I know she’s waiting there.”

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