Nov. 12, 2005 St. John veterans and friends remembered those who died in service to their country with a Veteran's Day parade through Cruz Bay and a ceremony in Cruz Bay Park Saturday.
"We pay tribute and honor to these men and women. We are eternally grateful for these brave souls," American Legion Auxiliary member Maria A. Lett said.
Lett knows personally the loss of a loved one during war. The name of her brother, Viggo E. Sewer, graces St. John's American Legion Post 131. Sewer died in the Korean Conflict.
The parade included about a dozen American Legion members, a similar amount of Auxiliary members, St. John's drill team, a troop of Boy Scouts, and a handful of government officials.
As the participants made their way past Cruz Bay Park, the several dozen people gathered in the park greeted them with a round of applause.
Sen. Celestino White, a St. Thomas resident who served in Vietnam, said that those who went from the Virgin Islands did so because they wanted to, not because they were drafted.
"We were there and we served with honor," White said.
St. John Administrator Julien Harley, noting that St. John celebrated Veteran's Day one day after the official date, observed that the event grows larger every year.
However, he pointed out that the day's purpose was not to go to the beach or have a party, but to remember those who sacrificed their lives.
"Most of the time all you get out of war are casualties, but they do it to preserve freedom and peace," he said.
Hubert Raimer, the commander of St. Thomas's American Legion Post 90, urged all those at the event to say thanks the next time they see a veteran.
As the veterans waited for the parade to start, several chatted among themselves. The Rev. Ray Joseph, who served as a U.S. Army chaplain in Korea and Vietnam, and Vietnam veteran Jerry Runyon chatted among themselves.
"Veteran's Day is the most important day," Joseph said when asked what brought him out.
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