Reference Krim Ballentine's most eloquent "Holiday Wishes for the Military" I'd like to add the following. I extend greetings to all the members of the V.I. National Guard who were not only instrumental in cleaning up the islands after major hurricanes devastated us in 1989 and 1995 but who have answered the call to duty and shipped out to many corners of the world to assist when natural disasters have devasted other areas. The Virgin Islands National Guard always sends out forces to assist where aid is needed.
My prayer is that the members of the V.I. National Guard NOT be deployed any further in either Afghanistan or Iraq which are war areas and where our National Guard recruits never anticipated being sent. Virgin Islands residents cannot vote in U.S. Presidential elections and yet our domestic National Guardsmen and women have been pulled into serving in these undeclared war zones under the auspice of "rebuilding." To me that's a total travesty of simple justice. National Guard recruits all over the United States are trained to get out there and assist in natural disasters and they do an excellent job. That they have been called up to serve sometimes numerous stints in these war zones is reprehensible at least, and the word is that regiments of the VI National Guard will shortly be called up yet again.
It's all too common knowledge that they can't talk about their experiences. There's a big wall there which they can't scale and surmount. Bound by "the code" of not letting down their fellow soldiers, they won't talk to the media and will only reluctantly talk to anyone "outside." The brainwashing is most pervasive and insidious. May God bless indeed their efforts but may God bless also some real intervention on their behalf. They were never meant to go into active war zones and all the fat-cat Senators both on the mainland and in the United States Virgin Islands should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this travesty to continue.
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