Governor Albert Bryan on Wednesday honored Virgin Islands veterans who served in the Vietnam War during a ceremony at Government House on St. Croix, Government House has announced.
The event, which was attended by dozens of Vietnam Veterans and their families, was held in honor of National Vietnam Veterans Day which is commemorated nationally on March 29, according to the release.
“Today’s event is important for many reasons, but mainly because it celebrates a group of patriotic Virgin Islanders, many of whom, did not get the welcome they deserved when they returned home from the war,” Mr. Bryan said. “It is important we recognize each of you for your service and your contributions and that we do that in the people’s house.”
The governor also celebrated Wednesday’s event as his first official meeting with a group of Virgin Islands Veterans as governor and as the first-ever event hosted at Government House honoring the territory’s Vietnam Veterans, in accordance with the national commemoration of National Vietnam Veterans Day, Government House said.
President Donald Trump in March 2017 signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Office of Veterans Affairs Director Patrick Farrell welcomed the Veterans in attendance and shared heartfelt words on the importance of Wednesday’s event to the Veterans who attended, according to Government House.
“After learning that some Veterans would meet comrades they haven’t seen since the conflict was heartwarming. That in itself made me feel that this event was a success even before it started,” Mr. Farrell said.
The Office of Veterans Affairs made arrangements for Vietnam veterans living in the St. Thomas-St.John district to travel to St. Croix for Wednesday’s ceremony.
Mr. Bryan handed out to each veteran attendee a Vietnam Veteran Honor Hat and posed for a group photo which the governor announced each veteran in attendance would receive as an added token of appreciation for their service, the Government House release said.
Feature Image: Governor Bryan gives a Vietnam Veteran Honor Hat to a veteran attendee during a ceremony honoring Vietnam War Veterans at Government House in St. Croix. (Credit: Government House)