Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Like was the case on the other Duch Caribbean Island, Memorial Day was commemorated in St. Eustatius on Tuesday afternoon.
In a small but very well organized ceremony, a wreaths were laid as remembrance to those who lost their lives during World War II.
Acting Government Commissioner, Alida Francis held a speech for the Ceremony, while Urisha Blake functioned as Master of Ceremony for the commemoration.
“Often, we speak of World War 2 as though it is something far away in our past. However, throughout the world there a people who are still alive whose lives were touched by this war, who were victims of the war and for whom the experience will always be vivid”.
Francis reminded her audience that the Statian community has been impacted by World War 2. “Specifically, we think of J.C. Van Putten, W.O. Hooker and M. Dembrooke. These were young Statia men who bravely heeded the call to fight in order to ensure that freedom reigns. Unfortunately, they died in the line of duty. This specific act of bravery propelled them to the NATIONAL HEROS, who we now remember”.
Francis said it was not only in WWII that men and women had given their life for the freedom of others: “One of the earliest Memorial Day ceremonies ever held in history took place in 1865. Its organizers were freed African American slaves. This ceremony took place less than 1 month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. It is said that these men and women exhumed a mass grave of more than 260 Union soldiers. And then on May 1st, 1865 these same freed slaves staged a parade to honor the lives of the fallen soldiers”.