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National Veterans Memorial Could Find a Home on St. Croix

Nov. 2, 2005 –– Plans are afoot to build a veteran's memorial on St. Croix, according to Jerry Pierce-Santos, who represents the Honorary Military Monument and Portrait Corp., the company hired to get the project underway.
"It will have a theater, museum, veterans medical clinic, and a wall of remembrance," Pierce-Santos said Monday from his Washington, D.C. base.
Brian Modeste, an aid to Delegate Donna M. Christensen, said the project is slated for 10 acres near Frederiksted.
Modeste said Christensen will introduce legislation to determine if it's feasible to make the memorial part of the National Park Service system.
The group is holding an event at the Capitol building in Washington Wednesday to unveil a model of the proposed project, to honor the advisory board members and to recruit sponsors for the project.
Advisory board members from the Virgin Islands include Sens. Lorraine Berry, Liston Davis, Louis P. Hill, Neville James, Norman JnBaptiste, Juan Figueroa-Seville and Shawn Michael Malone.
Additionally, Christensen and Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards are on the board.
The committee has also recruited Sen. John McCain, former Rep. Jack Kemp, Rep. Luis Fortuno, InterAmerican Economic Council president Barry Featherman, and Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert to the board.
Hill said in a prepared statement that it will be a privilege and honor to serve on the advisory board.
"It [the memorial] will be a place to educate our children about the sacrifices and actions of the brave men and women who served their community with distinction," Hill said.
Pierce-Santos said the St. Croix site will be finalized by the start of 2006. He said the group picked St. Croix to give the island an economic boost.
He said sponsors will be recruited to fund the estimated $30 million project.
According to information provided by Hill's office, in 2002 the Legislature appropriated $100,000 for the project. However, an Oct. 19 letter from the Puerto Rico-based Egbert V. Thomas III, the Honorary Military Monument and Portrait Group's vice-president, said the money has not been allocated. Thomas has asked Hill for assistance in obtaining the money.
The wall of remembrance will list all of the veterans who served in the U.S. military.

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