Parade float with "5th War Loan" banner, US flags, and a woman posing as the Statue of Liberty.

First National Bank float in the 1944 Fourth of July parade.

Patriotism is alive and well in Greeley!  That thought crossed my mind as I attended the Memorial Day celebration at Linn Grove Cemetery in May and

was further reinforced at the Linn Grove Cemetery 150th Celebration in June.  Greeley is proud of its past and community members are excited to participate in current events. As I write this, dozens of organizations, schools, businesses, and individuals are making and executing plans to celebrate the Independence Day parade and Stampede Rodeo in July and working toward commemorating the United States’ 250th birthday celebration in 2026. Around this time of year, patriotism conjures images of the American flag flying, fireworks bursting over the night skies in communities all across the nation, military men and women in uniform marching in parades, bands playing patriotic songs, and the Star-Spangled Banner being sung at scores of events.

However, patriotism could also be serving your community as a police officer, a fireman, or as a civilian, or serving your country in one of the branches of the military. Many wars have been fought to create and preserve the United States of America. Greeley was largely founded by veterans who served in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Men and women from Greeley have served in every war forward since that time. A memorial booklet in the Greeley Museums archival collections for Walter Fremont Church has written underneath his photograph “Student, Physician and Surgeon, Patriot.” Four succinct descriptive words to describe one man. Most of us can identify with being a student and a few as a physician and surgeon, but what are the attributes of a patriot? For Dr. Church, it was his service to his community as an Examining Physician for the Weld County Draft Board and the service to his country in 1918 with his enlistment to serve in the Medical Corps during World War I.

Statistics show that on the 1940 Census for Weld County, Colorado, there were less than 64,000 people, yet County Clerk Ann Spomer and Special Election Deputy Ira Sides estimated that by the time of the 1944 general election that approximately 5,000 men and women from Weld would be in military service in World War II (1939-1945). These men and women left behind parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends. They came from all walks of life, factory, farm, and field workers, merchants and mechanics, teachers and office workers, nurses, and doctors.  The vacuum of men and women leaving the workforce to serve in the military was filled with women doing their patriotic duty by keeping the home fires burning, factories and farms producing, schools, and businesses running.

Antonio and Antonia Trujillo of Greeley raised six sons, Miguel, Arthur, Raymond, Frank, Joseph, and Manuel, three daughters, Vera, Isabell, and Rose, and their nephew Matias Garcia. In 1940, Miguel enlisted in the Greeley National Guard, a part of the Colorado National Guard, 157th Infantry. In 1944, the truck Miguel was driving on the Italian front, hit a land mine and was demolished, but he was not critically injured. Driving the truck directly behind Miguel was Ernest Nuanez, also of the Greeley National Guard 157th Infantry, who was unharmed. The men of the Greeley National Guard 157th Infantry took part in four beach landings, fought in Italy (Anzio), France, and later liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. Miguel was followed into military service by four of his brothers Raymond (US Army, wounded at Guadalcanal), Frank (US Army quartermaster and German POW in 1945), Joe (US Navy Fireman), Manuel (US Navy Seaman), and his cousin Matias Garcia (US Army Military Police).

Collage of military service members. Top row were navy, army, navy servicemen; bottom row were all army servicemen.

Top row, left to right: Manuel Trujillo, Mike Trujillo, and Joe Trujillo.
Bottom row, left to right: Raymond Trujillo, Mattias Garcia, and Frank Trujillo.
COGM: 2008.105.0004

Patriots, at home and abroad, demonstrated the love and affection for their country by doing whatever was necessary for the well-being of their country. Patriotism has been talked about, written about, examined, and dissected for its core meaning for centuries. What may be surprising to some is that elements of conversations from the past continue to have ties to the present. A 1913, Greeley Tribune editorial titled “Our Nation’s Birthday, Patriotism Still Dominant Factor in Life of Country…” shared that while currently there was “no talk of war in the air, for which people of this country should and do feel grateful,” that the war at present was “against corruption in high places.” The editor wrote that people were demanding that the people who represented them “shall be true to their trust—that they shall express the will of their constituents who sent them to the state legislatures and the national capitol.” The article continues by sharing that the “country is filled with honest, earnest, sincere patriots, men who are today as willing to shoulder a musket as did their forebearers in the war of the revolution; they stand ready to serve their country for the common good.” The editorial concludes with: “Patriotism is not dead. It lives in this country as it ever has, and please God, ever will.”

Written by JoAnna Luth Stull, Registrar

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