Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. honored Virgin Islands veterans who served in the Vietnam War during a ceremony on Wednesday at Government House on St. Croix.
The event, which was attended by dozens of Vietnam veterans and their families, was held in honor of National Vietnam Veterans Day, which is commemorated nationally on March 29.
“Today’s event is important for many reasons but mainly because it celebrates a group of patriotic Virgin Islanders, many of whom did not get the welcome they deserved when they returned home from the war,” the governor said. “It is important we recognize each of you for your service and your contributions and that we do that in the people’s house.”
Bryan also celebrated Wednesday’s event as his first official meeting with a group of veterans as governor and as the only event ever hosted at Government House honoring the territory’s Vietnam veterans in accordance with the national commemoration of National Vietnam Veterans Day.
President Trump signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day in March of 2017.
Office of Veterans Affairs Director Patrick Farrell welcomed the veterans in attendance and shared heartfelt words on the importance of Wednesday’s event to the veterans who attended.
“After learning that some veterans would meet comrades they haven’t seen since the conflict was heartwarming. That in itself made me feel that this event was a success even before it started,” Farrell said.
The Office of Veterans Affairs (VA) made arrangements for Vietnam veterans living in the St. Thomas-St. John District to travel to St. Croix for Wednesday’s ceremony.
During the ceremony, Bryan handed out to each veteran a Vietnam Veteran Honor Hat and posed for a group photo. The veterans in attendance would receive the photo as an added token of appreciation for their service.