V.I. remembers Sept. 11 with solemn ceremonies
Published: September 12, 2012
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ST. CROIX - A solemn drum cadence echoed through the streets of downtown Christiansted on Tuesday, as a small crowd marched through town in remembrance of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Members of the American Legion and the V.I. National Guard, the Central High School Junior ROTC, and some residents, accompanied by police and firefighters, marched from Bassin Triangle to the Myron G. Danielson American Legion Post Headquarters on Hospital Street in Christiansted for the America Supports You Freedom Walk to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the attacks.
At the post, a ceremony featuring speeches and remarks, prayers, poems and songs took place.
The ceremony honored those who lost family members in the attacks. They helped lay a remembrance wreath in front of the building.
Speakers talked about the attacks - and about the need to never forget.
They spoke of mourning and paying homage.
And they spoke about what was lost in the attacks - and what may have been gained.
St. Croix Fire Chief Angel Torres said that on Sept. 11, "unspeakable evil was met with sheer goodness and humanity."
At one point in the ceremony, Annie Day Henry, Commander of American Legion Post 102, pinned corsages on Ophelia Walters, the mother of Claudia Sutton, who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, and on 17-year-old Vielka White, the daughter of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Maudlyn White, who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon.
In an interview, Walters said she came to the ceremony in her daughter's memory. She said that being among friends and family on the anniversary of the attacks makes it easier for her. She attends the ceremony every year.
Walters said that her faith also helps her through.
"With God in my corner, I can smile all the while," Walters said. "I'm hoping to meet her again one of these days."
Vielka said that attending these kinds of ceremonies "makes me who I am today. It helps me get stronger every day."
Staff Sgt. Maudlyn White graduated from St. Croix Central High School in 1982, before leaving for college and the Army. Vielka White, who was 6 when her mother died, has been brought up since then by family on St. Croix.
Vielka said that what she would like people to know about her mom is that "she was a strong and caring person and she always had a smile on her face."
The names listed in the program as 9/11 victims who had ties to St. Croix included Staff Sgt. White; Felix "Bobby" Calixte; Claudia Sutton; William Henry Jr.; Christian Maltby; Chris M. Kirby; and John Holland.