March 31, 2006 – "I was there when they took down the flag," Eulalie R. Rivera told a crowd of about 200 gathered in the St. Croix rainforest for the 89th Transfer Day ceremony.
Rivera said, "I remember a Man o' War ship was in the harbor. I was nine years old, I remember it well."
"All the children were saying we're going to be rich 'cause the Americans were rich. We would have gold and silver just like the Americans. We waved the American flags they gave us."
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards said of the territories ties with Denmark, "We are kindred spirits culturally and historically. We have more in common than not."
Richards spoke of the vestiges of the Danish era still evident on St. Croix today, mentioning the restoration of the Old Danish School, the Danish/V.I. apprentice program, the Danish Archival project, and other musical and cultural exchange programs between the territory and Denmark.
Keynote speaker Dr. Olaf "Bronco" Hendricks, a psychiatrist and saxophone player, displayed indomitable storytelling skills as he wove the tale of his Danish and African roots, his perceptions towards Danes and his ultimate acceptance of them into his family.
A native Crucian, Hendricks has visited Denmark several times as a member of Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights.
His speech was peppered with colloquialisms as he frequently slipped into "raw Crucian" to emphasize a point much to the delight of the audience.
Concluding the wild ride of his address that took the listeners back and forth through points in history, Hendricks left the audience with a directive.
"Research your family. Know your history. There is a story in all of us. One you need to know."
The Pearl B. Larsen quadrille dancers performed as well as the St. Patrick's School steel band. The Joyful Voice community choir sang several hymns, and Bianca Martin of St. Mary's School read her winning essay titled, "And I remember when "
The ceremony was held under two ancient saman trees, at the Lawaetz Family Museum grounds.
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