We probably should have timed this post with the anniversary of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor which was December 7. But truly, it’s never too late to write about an important topic, or to revisit its importance in American history. And you know that saying, “I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall?” Well, reading through a collection of letters elicits this sentiment.
Our Assistant Registrar Darcy was reading through a collection of letters and clippings from the Busch family to arrange them chronologically. What’s interesting about the collection is that 5 of 8 siblings served in different military branches. They had 5 sons and 3 daughters and 4 sons and a daughter served our country. One son, 1st Lieutenant Solomon A. Busch, did not return home alive. His brothers Captain William Busch, Lieutenant Rueben Busch, and Yeoman Benjamin Busch, and Second Class Martha Busch were more fortunate.
What is most interesting is that one of the brothers, Private Reuben Busch was stationed in Hawaii just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred. He wasn’t stationed on Oahu or in Pearl Harbor, but he was on a neighboring island. In letters written to his family, he discusses the majestic beauty of Pearl Harbor and his life in Hawaii. In fact, Reuben wrote a letter to his brother Sam and Nadine Busch on December 1, 1941 discussing his Thanksgiving on the island and the fact that he didn’t believe America would go to war with Japan. He tells his family that war was unlikely. The tone of the letter is light and almost carefree for a service member–just days before December 7, 1941–the day that would lead President Franklin S. Roosevelt to call it “a date which will live in infamy” in an address to Congress.
Reuben’s next letter was written on December 26, 1941, and his tone becomes completely different. He dares Japan to try again and there is hostility that can be felt reading his letter. Reuben discusses what it’s like in Hawaii since the Pearl Harbor event and urges his family not to worry. He also discusses censorship, writing his grandfather in German and hoping the letters wouldn’t be confiscated, and being under a blackout during Christmas. The tone, in less than a month, had completely changed.
The collection of letters read by our assistant registrar included those from another Busch brother named Solomon. Solomon wrote to Sam from the start of his military enlistment until his passing. Solomon also wrote to Reuben and back and forth, the brothers wrote about their hopes to see one another as they were both stationed in the Pacific. Ultimately Solomon, who was a paratrooper, was killed in the Philippines during the war.
There’s also letters from another brother, Ben Busch, and their sister Martha who also served in World War II. Together, the letters offer a keen insight into a family’s commitment to their country during the war.
The fact of the matter is this. Often times folks come across items that seem trite, or matter-of-fact. Heck, there were probably hundreds of letters written by individual service members during World War II. It was how people communicated back then. However, unless someone cared enough to preserve and protect them, these types of insights would be lost forever.
As World War II was the most widespread war in history, it’s important to preserve items that come from a local level and hopefully share them with future generations for the purpose of growth and learning.
Written in collaboration with Registrar JoAnna Luth Stull and Assistant Registrar Darcy Wallshein
FOR RELEASE: ‘Tis the season to tour festively decorated historical homes and enjoy various activities during Homesteader’s Holiday at Centennial Village Museum, Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit with Santa, dip an old-fashioned candle, make holiday crafts, and see historical spinning and weaving demonstrations during the event. There will be food concessions available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Greeley Museums and Selma’s Store will be open. The store features unique gifts, including holiday items, and local and regional history books.
There will also be musical entertainment inside the Weld Centennial Church that includes country guitar and vocals by Ray Delgado from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., pump organ music and carol singing with Dorothy Elder from 1 to 1:45 p.m., and the Rusty 44 bluegrass band from 2 to 4 p.m.
Admission to the event is free with each canned food item donated, made possible in part through the Community Foundation serving Greeley and Weld County’s Making Your Wish 20th Anniversary Community Grant Program. Without a canned food item, admission is $4 per adult, $2 per child or senior. Canned food donations will benefit the Weld Food Bank.
For more information about Homesteader’s Holiday, visit GreeleyMuseums.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Sarah Lester, Museum Educator
FOR RELEASE: The Greeley History Museum hosts a free admission day, Saturday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., during its annual holiday open house. The event is held in conjunction with the Downtown Development Authority’s open house.
During the free day, visitors can check out current exhibits, take photos with Cowboy Santa and work on snowflake and poinsettia crafts.
Located at 714 8th St., the museum is closed Thursday, Nov. 23.
For details about the museum free day, call 970-350-9220 or visit greeleymuseums.com.
For more information, contact:
Dan Perry, City of Greeley Museums Manager
FOR RELEASE: Veterans and active service members can enjoy free admission to the Greeley History Museum, 714 8th St., on Friday, Nov. 10, in honor of Veteran’s Day. While most city facilities will be closed to the public on Friday, the museum will remain open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and close on Saturday. There is no coupon needed, but proof of service must be provided.
There’s another patriotic event happening in Greeley that weekend and you don’t need to be a veteran to appreciate it. The 101st Army Concert Band performs a free public concert at the Union Colony Civic Center, 710 10th Ave., at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11.
Tickets for this free patriotic-themed concert are restricted to 4 per person while supplies last, and are only available by visiting the UCCC ticket office in person. This show is expected to fill quickly.
For more information about the exhibits currently on display at the Greeley History Museum, visit GreeleyMuseums.com. For details about the UCCC and its concert line-up, visit UCStars.com.
For more information about the museum, contact:
Dan Perry, City of Greeley Museums Manager
For more information about the UCCC, contact:
Jason Evenson, Cultural Services Manager
Preparations are underway for Centennial Village Museum’s annual not-so-haunted Hall House, a popular attraction hosted during the museum’s annual Howl-O-Ween trick or treat event. Museum staff are thankful that it’s even happening.
This year, the team in charge of the Howl-O-Ween event almost had to remove the haunted house from its event list. There weren’t any volunteers interested in putting in the long hours needed to both decorate and run the attraction.
That’s when three super great sophomores from Greeley’s University High School volunteered to make Centennial Village’s Hall House a frighteningly good time for guests.
School was out for a few extra days this week, so three friends–Morgan Kirtley, Roaringbrook Smith, and Tyler Whitmoyer–chose to spend their long weekend decorating the inside of the museum’s Hall House in preparation of this weekend’s Howl-O-Ween event.
Their school has a policy that requires its students to complete at least 50 hours of volunteer work in the community. The group hopes their work at the museum will count toward those hours.
Smith is no stranger to racking up volunteer hours. Last year she was honored with the Presidential Service Award for volunteering.
According to Kirtley, when the trio learned about the opportunity to volunteer, organize, and run the haunted house, it seemed like fun. Kirtley hopes to study engineering in college, so he’s putting his skills to good use. The trio fashioned a mock electric chair as one of its props. They’ve also had to figure out how to hang decorations using unconventional methods. Since it’s the historic Hall House, the kids can’t just put nails in walls, they have to get creative about where and how they can hang decorations.
Whitmore has volunteered for the museum several times in the last year but says, “Halloween is definitely my favorite event.”
In all, the group has used several boxes of webbing, rolls of caution tape, and a dozen or so black sheets to decorate the home. There are skeletons,
spiders, pictures, black lights, a fog machine and more—all of which have created the perfectly spooky, historic house tour.
Smith adds that they want this to be a good haunted house experience, for folks of all ages. “We can always make it less frightening if parents ask us to make it less scary,” she says.
Children must be accompanied by adults and for good reason. According to museum curator Scott Chartier, “We want to keep this a family-friendly, safe evening event.” And knowing that for many local children, the haunted house at Centennial Village is their first haunted house experience, makes it even more important for parents to be present.
Howl-O-Ween happens Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 7 p.m. both days. Admission is just $2 per child, $3 per adult and includes trick or treating, music provided by Aims Student Radio in Hanna’s Square, wagon rides, and the haunted house. For specific details about the event, visit its webpage.