Dear readers: I don’t have a new question and answer this week, but I have a series of responses from 2011 that are relevant to this special day, when we stop to remember those whose sacrifices made our freedoms possible.
In a series of questions and answers that year, Johnnie learned more about Solomon Cruz, who died in World War I but not, apparently, in military action; and about Larry G. Trevarton, whose name now appears on the city’s Vietnam Memorial.
From January 2011
Johnnie: Some friends and I were talking about the flag pole that was on Fourth Avenue next to the town building. Since it is dedicated to veterans of the First World War, one wondered what had happened to it?
We talked about putting it back on Main Street, but neither of us remember seeing it anywhere in town.
Can you tell us where we might find it? Thank you. – Pat, Susan, Trina and Rod
Dear Pat and friends: Thank you for patiently waiting for a response. Sometimes the answers come easily to Johnnie; sometimes not.
Sometimes Johnnie finds an answer the reader was not looking for. This is the case with the commemorative pole.
To your question: The World War I memorial pole is now located at the east end of Roosevelt Park.
The sons of 32 Squadron of the American Legion had the flag pole refurbished and placed there in 2001, after it was removed from the location of Fourth and Kimbark.
I thought you might want to learn more about the history of the mast, so I turned to Chris Palmer, commander of 32 Squadron in 2001, the Times-Call Archives and the Archdiocese of Denver ( I’ll explain why later).
The pole was first raised in 1915, in the middle of the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Main Street, and it was re-dedicated as a war memorial in 1918. At that time, illuminated tablets were displayed. been added to its base. They listed the names of local men who gave their lives in WWI. These bronze tablets remain at the base of the pole.
In the early 1930s, the mast began to be viewed as a traffic hazard as Longmont became more metropolitan. So on June 19, 1933, the original 65-foot post was cut from its foot and moved to Fourth and Kimbark. It was then 51 feet.
Just before the turn of the century (no, this century), the Downtown Development Authority began talking to the Sons of the American Legion about moving the flag pole on Main Street, as part of the downtown renovation project. However, city engineers were concerned about what might happen if a vehicle hit the pole.
It turns out that renovations to Roosevelt Park were also about to begin.
“When they made plans for Roosevelt Park, they didn’t have a flag pole there,” Palmer said.
The eastern end of the park became the ideal location for the memorial pole, opposite the Memorial Rose Garden, which was placed in the park after WWII by the Longmont Lions Club.
After a month of renovation, including sandblasting and powder coating, the pole was lifted and opened in December 2001.
But you might be wondering about the rest of the story.
Palmer told me he believed there were up to three local men who died in World War I, but whose names do not appear on the plaque.
The only name he remembers is that of Solomon Cruz, who Palmer said was the first parishioner of St. John the Baptist Church to be killed in WWI.
Palmer said he once heard from an elder that city leaders at the time would not allow Cruz’s name to be placed on the plaque because he was Hispanic and because he was Catholic .
I can’t tell if it’s true or not. Reports at the time of the 1918 consecration indicate that the Knights of Columbus marched in the parade, so it seems unlikely to me that this man’s name would have been ignored because he was a Catholic.
And nothing on the shelves claims that the list of men who gave their lives is complete.
But I know this: “Over 20 men from the parish were sent overseas to fight (and) the first military funeral held in the church was for Solomon R. Cruz on July 14, 1917.”
I found this in a Times-Call article published in 1996.
This account is based on information I received from Archdiocesan Archivist Karyl Klein. It is a copy of Mr. Cruz’s death certificate, which indicates that he was the first soldier from Longmont to be buried and was buried with military honors.
The rest is in Latin, but my reading of the dates and numbers on the record is that he died at the age of 22 and was buried on July 16, 1917.
And I know Mr. Cruz’s name doesn’t appear on any of the commemorative plaques.
From May 2011
Dear readers:Some time ago we learned of the existence of a local soldier who died in WWI, but whose name does not appear on the commemorative plaque on the flag pole in Roosevelt Park.
In response to a question about the flagpole, Johnnie came up with what appeared to be the rest of the story.
Solomon R. Cruz died on Friday July 13, 1917, at the age of 22, and was buried with military honors, according to a note on his church death certificate.
This suggests that Cruz’s name should appear on the plaque that honors those who died in the war.
Chris Palmer, former commander of Sons of the American Legion Squadron 32, set out to do this right, but first he decided to dig deeper into how Cruz died.
This led Palmer to the rest of the story.
He returned to the church register, where he found another Cruz registered. Adela Cruz, 16, was buried on the same day as Solomon Cruz.
At the library, he discovered a clipping from a newspaper from Longmont at the time that announced their two deaths, stating that Salomon had died in Longmont and that Adela had died near Longmont. They died within 15 minutes of each other, the newspaper said, but did not explain why.
The cut, however, answers the question about Solomon Cruz’s military service.
He states that Solomon was a member of the L Troop, which sent members to the funeral service.
Then, on the front page of the Longmont Ledger, on Friday July 20, 1917, came an announcement that “Last Friday … about 35 members of Troop L left for service.”
So it seems that Solomon Cruz’s unit left for training the same day he died.
Having this information, I found the dust-covered hardcover volume of the 1917 editions of the Longmont Times. In the July 14 edition, I found a notice stating that Solomon Cruz had died the previous afternoon at the local hospital after serious surgery. Her sister died at home.
So, for now, it seems that Cruz did not die in combat or from wounds suffered in the war.
But even that cannot be determined for sure. Palmer told me that Cruz’s death certificate will not be made public until 100 years after his death. It will be six years from now.
The name Solomon R. Cruz will therefore not be added to the Longmont World War I memorial.
However, an omission from the Vietnam Memorial in the city’s Jim Hamm Natural Area will be corrected on this Remembrance Day.
Palmer told me that Larry G. Trevarton’s name was missing from this memorial. I called the gentleman who sent Johnnie $ 100 after reading about Solomon Cruz. He’ll have that money to put Trevarton’s name on the memorial.
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