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Solemn Ceremony Honors Fallen Service Members

May 26, 2008 — In his keynote address during Memorial Day ceremonies at the park by Christiansted harbor Monday morning, Lt. Col. Michael A. McDonald of the V.I. National Guard noted the solemnity of the occasion in remembering those who died for freedom.
That solemnity already seemed to have gripped the marchers who formed at Bassin Triangle and made a stop for a benediction and short ceremony in Christiansted Cemetery before making their way down King Street to Christiansted Wharf. Unlike many Crucian events where the audience feels free to talk and joke, here the mall audience was as quiet as the young military cadets standing at attention.
Rose petals were scattered in the harbor in a memorial for service members lost at sea. Officiating was Commander Amos L. Sealy from Myron G. Danielson Post 85. The mournful sound of "Taps," played by a member of Crucian Brass Band, came from the hillside next to Fort Christiansvaern.
The memorial continued at the bandstand where officials gathered, with the Crucian Brass playing patriotic musical selections throughout the ceremony. Master of Ceremonies was Annie Day Henry, an Air Force veteran.
The invocation was made by Gerard Luz James II, chaplain of American Legion Enrique Romero Nieves Post 102. Leading the Pledge of Allegiance was Emily Tranberg, president of the women's auxiliary unit Bromley Berkley Post 133.
A flag placed on a vacant chair in the bandstand represented the memory of the thousands of POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for.
Twelve empty pairs of black leather and tan nubuck boots were placed on the steps of Customs House in memory of the most recently deceased soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
"We pray for the families of the soldiers," said Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis, himself a veteran and American Legion member. "And we pray the soldiers will soon return."
The ceremony concluded with the reading of a roll call of veterans who died since Memorial Day 2007. "Taps" was played for the last time.
Participants included the host post, American Legion Enrique Romero Nieves Post 102, Myron G. Danielson Post 85, Bromley Berkley Post 133, the Ladies Auxiliary from each post, V.I. National Guard, the Air National Guard, Army, the Junior ROTC from Educational Complex and the Marching Barracudas band from Educational Complex.
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