Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson

Ceremony honors WWI veterans


Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Dave Gillman, Chaplin for the Marine Corps League, holds the American flag during the ceremony to prevent it from getting blowed over by the wind.

After each name was called, a bell chimed.

Its sound symbolized each name being called represented a soldier who was no longer with us. They each gave their lives during World War I.

On Saturday afternoon at Bunning Park in Rock Springs community members gathered to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the World War I and American Legion Centennial ceremony. This ceremony was organized by the High Desert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Legion and took place in front of the WW I Doughboy Monument, which has 33 names engraved on it. Since the monument was made, four more names of those who died in the war have been discovered through research.

Names read aloud listed on the monument are Bernard Ace, Charles A. Blair, Gust Berakis, John M. Angelovic, Baptist Buffo, Finis L. Coleman, Edward C. Davis, Robert F. Clark, Daniel Elieff, Archibald L. Hay, Alex Eyheralt, Chas Hutton, Fred Jensen, William H. Freeman, George Iredale, Max Jeloucan, Otto C. Jensen, Gus Johnson, Savo Labudovich, Alma L. Lewis, Jessie Lowe, Roy Mays, John Potter, Joseph W. Milburn, Charles S. Park, Robert S. Stoll, Joseph Tomich, George A. O'Neill, George Schmitt, Bollos Stathakis, Thomas J. Whalen, John Yuthas and Nickola Mrvalevich. Those named who are not on the monument were Lynn Bradley Jenkins, James Z. Hawyard, Frank R. Salet and William P. Wyovich.

Prior to their names being called, those in attendance listened to information about some of those whose names are on the monument. While some died in combat, others succumbed to wounds sustained in the war or some sort of disease, such as the Spanish Flu, they picked up. Others were never found, such as John M. Angelovic. Angelovic served on the USS Cyclops, which was the largest coal hauler at the time. On its last trip, it sailed from Baltimore, to Brazil. Before leaving Brazil on Feb. 15, 1918, it was loaded with magnesium ore. While en route, the vessel lost its starboard engine due to a cracked cylinder and could only go 10 knots. Instead of returning to Baltimore, it stopped in Barbados and added coal and water to the vessel. The ship left Barbados on March 3, 1918, with 309 people on board. It was never heard from again nor was the ship ever recovered.

This was just one of the many stories shared and each one was unique and sad in its own way. These stories brought tears to many in attendance.

Those at the ceremony also heard how the war started and how it ended. Doug Uhrig of the Wyoming Veterans Commission said the war started June 28, 1919, and ended with the last battle between the doughboys and the White Russians on a train in Siberia Jan. 9, 1920. Millions lost their lives during the war.

"That war will be remembered as one of the bloodiest wars in human history," Uhrig said.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11 month of 1918 an armistice was signed between the Central and Allied powers to end the war, he said.

The Treaty of Versailles between the Allies and Germany opened on Jan. 18, 1919, and was signed on June 28, which is why the DAL chose June 29 for the ceremony.

Uhrig said WW I became known as "the war to end all wars" because the survivors of the horrific war were convinced once the world learned what a great loss humanity suffered there would never be another war.

"We all know how that turned out," he said.

Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Brendan Blackwell was dressed in the attire a WW I soldier would have worn as he holds the wreath.

Uhrig, whose grandfather survived the war, said the only time his mother saw her dad cry was when he was listening to the radio as Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the U.S. Congress and war was once again declared when the U.S. entered into WW II.

After the laying of a wreath, a reading of the poem "In Flanders Field," by John McCrae, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps took place. The histories of each organization, including the American Legion, Tom Whitemore Post 28, Archie Hay Post 24, VFW and Legion Auxiliary were also given.

Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo also read a proclamation and included in the proclamation was information about those who served.

"Wyoming sent more men to the service, per capita, than any other state in the Union and approximately 461 Wyoming men died in service during WW I," he said.

After the ceremony, those in attendance were encouraged to look at the flags collected and other historical articles about WW I.


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