The London Blitz

The Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum continues to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this time with a photo retrospective of the London Blitz.

Background:

Near the beginning of World War II, Hitler set his sights on subduing Great Britain through a series of intensive bombing raids. Between September 1940 and May 1941, it is estimated that 45,000 short tons of bombs were dropped on Britain by the Nazi Luftwaffe. Intending both to damage Britain’s wartime industrial infrastructure and its citizen’s morale, the Blitz did not ultimately succeed in breaking Great Britain.

While certainly devastating and psychologically destructive (to say nothing about the lives lost and homes shattered) the Blitz didn’t achieve Hitler’s primary objective. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and ground-based anti-aircraft guns held their own, and the citizens—despite some turmoil and often severe hardship—remained unbowed. From sending women and children to the countryside, to sheltering at night in London Underground tunnels, the citizens of Great Britain adapted to life under air raids during the nine months of the Blitz.

By spring of 1941, Hitler had shifted his attention to invading the Soviet Union with Operation Barbarossa, and the Blitz ended. As you scroll through the pictures below, reflect on how you might have responded during this time. Use historical empathy to put yourself in the shoes of the people of the past and to imagine what life might have been like 75 years ago….

World War II in the Philippines

On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Veterans Museum has created the Virtual Coffee & Conversation series to maintain our connection to these momentous events. In this installment, learn more about the Battles of Bataan and Corregidor and the Bataan Death March from Tracy Perry. On May 25, 2019, Perry shared the story of his uncle’s capture in the Philippines in 1941 and his eventual death in a Japanese POW camp.

The images above show (from left to right) a wounded Filipino soldier being assisted during the fall of Bataan, the Japanese bombing of Bataan, and paratroopers landing on Corregidor in 1945.

About World War II in the Philippines: A mere ten hours after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the Empire of Japan attacked American bases in the Philippines. Then, over the course of the next four months, the Japanese invaded the Philippine mainland and eventually subdued the combined American and Filipino forces in the Battle of Bataan, forcing them to surrender on April 9, 1942. A month later the last defense at the island of Corregidor fell to Japanese troops. In the aftermath of the battles, American and Filipino soldiers endured the Bataan Death March or POW “hellships,” which housed American soldiers and sailors in terrible conditions.

Watch this Coffee & Conversation from May 25, 2019 here or below from Tracy Perry, who spoke about his uncle’s World War II experience on the submarine tender USS Canopus, his capture in the Philippines, and then his subsequent death in a Japanese POW camp.

Tracy Perry explains his uncle’s service in the Pacific theater during World War II

Sources for images is the Library of Congress Image Archives:

One of our Filipino boys, injured in the fighting on Bataan, being brought back to a first aid station by his comrades. Longoskawayan Point, West Coast. Republic of the Philippines Republic of the Philippines, 1943. Mar. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017697146/.

General view showing houses burning as the result of Japanese bombing raid in Bataan, the Philippine Islands. Bataan Bataan. Republic of the Philippines, 1943. Mar. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017697149/.

Paratroopers, supported by ground forces, landing on Corregidor in the combined assault launched on. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2005684101/>.

75 years later—V-E Day

This year marks 75 years since the end of World War II. The Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum continues to commemorate the end of the war by re-posting videos from past Coffee & Conversations that relate to this momentous event.

ABOUT V-E DAY: V-E Day (short for Victory in Europe) saw Nazi Germany unconditionally surrender to Allied Forces in Berlin on May 8, 1945. The surrender triggered celebrations in Allied countries across the world. Despite this huge victory, the ongoing war against Japan had not been won yet, and it would be nearly three months before the war was finally over.

William R. Wilson right and brother Cpl. Jack Wilson left standing by a German 88 mm gun at Verdun, France on VE Day
Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2007683599/>.

Below and here you will find an embedded video of Brad Beeler’s account of his experiences in Germany in 1944 and 1945 with the 102nd Infantry Division. Beeler was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his heroism in action in Germany. He was discharged in 1945 and moved to Colorado in 1948 with his wife.

Brad Beeler talks about his experiences in Germany in 1944 and 1945 during World War II at a Coffee & Conversation at the Veterans Museum on August 22, 2015.

Timeless Love Letters

Letters of World War II: A Love Story. Colleen Sawyer, October 22, 2016.

The social isolation spurred by COVID-19 has prompted many to employ the long-lost art of letter writing. Hand-written letters possess a thrill upon receipt that an email or a text cannot match. The act of opening the envelope and then holding the paper or card that your friend, relative, or lover recently touched has a visceral power and attraction.

For the men and women deployed in the military, letters have long been a vital connection to the home-front and a welcome respite from the drudgery and horror of war. In the Coffee & Conversation linked above and below from October 22, 2016, Colleen Sawyer describes the spirited love letters exchanged between her mother and father. Between the years of 1942 and 1945, her father, George Sawyer, and her mother, Jane Remer, exchanged many, many letters with each other and their discourse blossomed into love. Sawyer was deployed in North Africa and Italy during World War II, and it was clear through these letter that his relationship “on paper” with Remer was the beating heart of his persistence in the face of difficulty and boredom.

Learn more about this fascinating story and perhaps be motivated to write letters to your loved ones by watching the video linked here or above.

This charcoal drawing depicts an American soldier writing a letter home during the Great War (World War I).
Source: Benda, Wladyslaw T. , Artist. Soldier Writing Letter
. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2010715107/>.

The 157th Infantry: Colorado’s Forgotten Regiment


This map from the Library of Congress shows the movements of the 45th Infantry Division in Rhineland in 1944 and 1945 near the end of the war. The 157th Regiment was part of this division.

On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum invites you to immerse yourself in the lives and heroism of the men and women who fought for our country.

Our first Virtual Coffee & Conversation spotlights Colorado’s 157th Infantry Regiment.

Overview:

With its advent during the earliest days of the Colorado Territory, the 157th’s predecessors battled the Confederates during the battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico, fought in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, and saw action in France during World War I. 

World War II, however, would be the regiment’s defining moment. Through 511 hard days of combat in the European theater, the “Thunderbirds” made four assault landings and was credited with saving the Salerno and Anzio beachheads. 

Did you know that over 3,000 Native Americans fought as part of this Division? Or that the 157th was instrumental in the liberation of the horrific Dachau concentration camp?

Learn more about this fascinating history by checking out Flint Whitlock’s Coffee & Conversation presentation from May 12, 2018 at the video below or here.

To go even deeper, you can purchase Flint Whitlock’s book about the 45th Infantry Division, The Rock of Anzio, here.

Campaigns of the 45th Infantry Division Image Source: Allied Forces. Army Group, 12Th. Engineer Section, and 1St. Headquarters United States Army. Army Group. , HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map. [England?: Twelfth Army Group, 1944] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2004630253/>.

The Museum is now closed to the public.

November 20, 2020: Due to the increased COVID rates in the City and County of Broomfield, the Veterans Museum is now closed to the public. Our final 2020 Coffee & Conversation with Tim Hutchinson has been cancelled. We are still available to answer questions via phone or email at 303-460-6801 or broomfieldveterans@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Facebook for more content about our Colorado Veterans.

Local artists and veterans collaborate on art exhibit at museum

Boulder-native sisters, Maryanna Wienbroeer Brunkhorst and Melody (Wienbroeer) Huisjen have collaborated on an art and poetry exhibit that shares experiences of USAF veteran Maryanna Brunkhorst. Through her poems and creative non-fiction writing, Maryanna explores everything from a chance encounter with a desert resident while stationed in Kuwait to the emotional impact and honor of service to our country.  These have been interpreted by Melody to inspire visual works of art laden with symbolism and created with watermedia, ink, and ephemera.

The Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum has the collection on display from January 22-April 21 for their ARTillery series, which invites veterans to creatively engage with their military history.

Learn more about the ARTillery series.

Overhead view of the teams competing in the Brain Trust

Veterans Museum Competes in Annual Trivia Contest for Local Rotary Club

On February 22, the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum’s team participated in the Rotary Club of Broomfield Crossing’s Brain Trust Trivia Night. It was the museum’s fourth year to participate in the trivia challenge, competing under the team name of G.I. Joes and Janes. Although the museum didn’t bring home the trophy this year, their efforts helped support the Rotary Crossing and community programs funded through the Rotary’s fundraising.

Congratulations to the winning team, Emily’s Stars, who got 58 right answers out of 81 questions. Proceeds from this benefit event go to the Rotary Club of Broomfield Crossing to eventually fund grants to local non-profits. The veterans museum has been a previous recipient of grants from the Rotary. And if anyone should ask you, “Just what is a group of giraffes called?”, the answer is “a tower.”


Standing, left to right, Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum Board Directors Jim Groh, Flint Whitlock, and Cathy Walker. Seated, left to right, board directors David Jamiel and Lew Roman and museum volunteer Amy Moir.

Museum Brings History to Life for Students at Prospect Ridge Academy

Seven volunteers came together on January 23 to contribute an evening of Colorado military history for the students and families of Prospect Ridge Academy, as part of the school’s Science and Social Studies Night.  The volunteers facilitated five different interactive stations covering 170 years of military history.  Students were able to try on replica uniforms and equipment from the Mexican American War, American Civil War, WWII, Vietnam and Gulf Wars and learn about these conflicts. They also learned about the women’s role in supporting the U.S. Army on the Western American Frontier (1840s to 1890s) and played games that the Frontier soldiers’ children may have played.  Over 125 students and their parents took part in the activities.

The displays were coordinated by the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum with the help of volunteers from the museum, American Military Living History Association (AMLHA) and the American Legion Post #58.  Both the AMLHA and the American Legion meet at the museum and assist with the educational and events held there.  The activity was well received by the staff at the Academy. The Academy’s coordinator of the Science & Social Studies Night, Sarah Shoemaker, stated that, “I was very impressed with everything that was happening around our school.  You were the hype of the school today!  Many kids were talking about the night and how much fun they had with each presenter.”

Veterans Resources

Robert Davenport, Sr. Grant created to support local veterans in need

When U.S. Army veteran and 2008 Heart of Broomfield award recipient Robert “Bob” Davenport passed away in late 2017, his family wanted to do something to honor his legacy. As a result, they partnered with the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum to create the Robert Davenport, Sr., Veteran Fund in his memory.

Davenport’s strong ties to veterans and Broomfield inspired his family to set up the fund. Davenport joined the Army in 1952 right out of college and later served in the Judge Advocate General Reserve Corp. before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. In 1958, Davenport and his wife, Patty, moved to Broomfield, where he became an active member of the community and was one of the six founding members of the Broomfield Memorial Veterans Museum.

The purpose of the fund is intended to help address emergency financial needs of honorably discharged or retired veterans of the United States military and of their immediate families.

The Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum Directors are responsible for helping to facilitate and execute incoming grant requests on behalf of the Davenport Family. To be eligible for a grant, a veteran must be a resident in the City and County of Broomfield. Grant requests shall not exceed $1,000.00.

Grant requests must be submitted to the Broomfield Veterans Memorial Museum in writing or via email. Requests may be submitted by an individual veteran seeking financial aid, a family member on behalf of a veteran, or an organization on behalf of a veteran.

To review the guidelines and access a grant application, visit the Veterans Grant page.