For the very first time, Gov. Albert Bryan, Jr. and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach signed a proclamation designating June 12 as “Women Veterans Recognition Day” in the Virgin Islands. On Friday, in a room filled with about 40 women veterans at the Government House on St. Croix, women veterans from St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix gathered to celebrate the signing of the proclamation that highlights women veterans in the Virgin Islands.
Patrick D. Farrell, Director of the V.I. Office of Veterans Affairs, said, “Way back in 1948, at that time, women were only authorized 2 percent of each service to be a part of. Of course, today we have more than 2 million women serving in the military and many more that have already served.”
“Women like yourself have been earning your place in history, each and every day. We do recognize your place in history, and we are going to make it known across the nation and this territory. I also say this is just a symbol that you can do and be anything you want to be,” said Farrell.
Roach also highlighted the important role women in the Caribbean carry. “It is so incredibly difficult to think of women as a minority in anything. Women lead in the Caribbean, women in so many instances are heads of households, women generated businesses, women keep families together, but still a minority in the armed services, but making away in what used to be a man’s world.”
Bryan said that we need to give our people the due respect and honor that they deserve. “I made a habit of mine to say thank you for your service to the people in uniform, whether they are police officers or whether they have served in the armed forces,” Bryan said the signing of the proclamation is their attempt to say thank you to those individuals and number two to put a new face on what a veteran is in the Virgin Islands.
“To get our veterans active in taking advantage of our funding and draw attention to our veterans and get more people involved in what we are doing in the community,” Bryan said. “You play a big part of it every day. Mostly not as veterans, probably mostly as people in our community, but we need to bring that face forward too. Our armed forces are doing things every single day to keep this freedom that we take for granted available to all of us.”
The veteran women then gathered around Bryan and Roach for a picture opportunity and the official signing of the proclamation.