On April 3, 2017, the Arvada City Council issued a formal proclamation to mark the centennial of America’s declaration of war against Imperial Germany, which resulted in our nation’s entry into the Great War that became known as World War I. Of the four million American soldiers who served in our military during the Great War, more than 116,000 gave their lives, and additional 200,000 were wounded. Many of the casualties were from Arvada, other Jefferson County communities, and all areas of Colorado. Among those killed were William Wilmore and Benjamin Richter, for whom American Legion Post 161 in Arvada is named. Another casualty was Army pilot John Harold Buckley, for whom Buckley Air Force in Aurora is named. Additionally, three Colorado soldiers and one Colorado sailor were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic acts during the war.
After the war ended with an armistice in November 1918, we found the world had changed: empires were toppled, alliances ceased to exist, borders of countries were created and destroyed, the seeds were sown for World War II, the Vietnam War, and current-day Middle-East conflicts, and America became a world power.
The city of Arvada continues to honor the fallen of the Great War through its placement of a monument on the grounds of McIlvoy House on Grandview Avenue. Additionally, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities and the City of Arvada have taken the lead in establishing the Colorado World War I Commission. To parallel the nineteen months of American involvement a century later, the Commission is sponsoring a variety of programs beginning on April 6, 2017, and ending in November 2018. These programs will consist of re-enactments, literature, poetry, drama, music, art, and film. The programs will be presented at the Arvada Center, as well as at several universities, museums, and libraries throughout the state. A full listing of the programs may be accessed at arvadacenter/ww1.
The proclamation issued by the Arvada City Council encourages all citizens to remember and commemorate America’s entry into the Great War – and the terrible sacrifices its citizens endured one hundred years ago.