Nov. 8, 2005 Veterans' Day, which is officially Friday, is the day to express respect and gratitude for those who served the United States as members of the armed forces and National Guard, said Gov. Charles Turnbull in a news release issued Monday.
"This year we pay tribute to the thousands of veterans in the U.S. Virgin Islands, who by their continued devotion to the highest ideals of patriotism an citizenship constitute a foundation of both strength and progress in the territory," Gov. Turnbull said.
Justin Harrigan, who heads the local government's Office of Veterans Affairs, said the territory has about 5,200 veterans.
He said that veterans sacrificed so residents can enjoy their liberty.
"All communities should honor their veterans," he said.
Across the territory, residents will mark the day with parades.
St. Thomas and St. Croix will hold their parades Friday. St. John's is on Saturday.
The St. Croix parade begins at 10:15 a.m. Friday with a march from Claude O. Markoe School in Frederiksted down Queen Mary Highway to Fischer Street in Frederiksted. An official ceremony will take place immediately following the parade at the Bandstand, located near Fort Frederick. Parade participants should gather at the school at 9:30 a.m. The St. Croix events are sponsored by the Veterans Service Organizations of St. Croix and the Office of Veterans Affairs.
On St. Thomas, events begin at 3 p.m. Friday with a parade from Addelita Cancryn Junior High School along Veterans Drive to Emancipation Garden in Charlotte Amalie. A program will follow at the David A. Monsanto Bandstand in Emancipation Garden. Parade participants should be at the school at 2 p.m. The events are sponsored by the Patrick U. George Post Number 90 of the American Legion and the Office of Veterans Affairs.
St. John's parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. It runs from the V.I. National Park boat dock at the Creek through Cruz Bay to Cruz Bay Park. Participants should arrive at the boat dock at by 9:30 a.m. Viggo E. Sewer Post No. 131 of the American Legion and the Office of Veterans Affairs sponsor the St. John events.
Veterans' Day has its roots in Armistice Day, an observance designated by President Woodrow Wilson to mark the official end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
Armistice Day, observed on Nov. 11, became an official federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, the U.S. Congress changed the name to Veterans' Day to honor those who served in all wars.
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