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Senator Gittens Extends Emancipation Day And Independence Day Greetings

CHRISTIANSTED — Senator Kenneth Gittens has extended greetings to residents ahead of this week’s Emancipation Day and Independence Day commemorations.

“It is my hope everyone remembers the significance of these holidays and the sacrifices made to achieve them as they enjoy attending one of this week’s special events or spending time with their families,” Senator Gittens said. “Each year Emancipation Day affords Virgin Islanders the opportunity to reflect on the past and prepare for the future.”

Emancipation Day, commemorated on July 3, recognizes the day in 1848, that then Danish Governor Peter von Scholten proclaimed that “all unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today emancipated” officially ending slavery after much struggle.

As is traditional each year, several organizations and culture bearers are leading historically significant activities, to include storytelling and re-enactments, quelbe tramps and quadrille dances.

“While I hope everyone enjoys the holidays this week, we must not overlook the fact that July 3 marks one of the most significant events in our history,” Senator Gittens said. “What we must teach our children is that freedom was not handed to us – we pushed until there was no other option but for Denmark to issue this proclamation. Virgin Islanders must harness this same fortitude to take back our communities and to free ourselves from the mental slavery that has allowed corruption and crime to flourish. We can do better – our ancestors wanted better for us.”

While the people of the Virgin Islands will be celebrating Emancipation Day on Wednesday, Senator Gittens said we also join the rest of the nation in the celebration of Independence Day on Thursday, July 4.

The Senator says he observes Independence Day as the nation’s birthday and the culmination of events that began shaping our great nation.
“Although there have been hardships throughout the history of our territory and the nation, we should take pride in our accomplishments, Gittens said. “America and the Virgin Islands are not perfect, but they are great. They are home to us and I pray that God will continue to bless the United States Virgin Islands and the United States of America.”

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