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WW I marks 100 years

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 29th, 2014

Courier editor

VALLEY — Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the “Great War,” World War I.

It was on July 28, 1914, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, exactly one month after Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The Veterans History Museum at the Colorado State Veterans Center at Homelake has a list of many San Luis Valley residents who fought in WW I. Many of their descendants still live in the Valley today.

Please stop by anytime the museum is open to check out the information and memorabilia from WW I and other wars in which Valley residents fought, many of them giving the supreme sacrifice.

The museum, which is free to military veterans and their families, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1-3 p.m. Contact Sue Getz at 580-0023 for more information. 

World War I was the world’s first global conflict, pitting the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire against the Allied forces of Great Britain, the United States, France, Russia, Italy and Japan. About nine million soldiers were killed by the end of the war in November 1918.

This past weekend also marked an anniversary for the Korean War. It was on July 27, 1953 that an armistice was signed to end the war, which had lasted three years, divided a peninsula that remains divided today and claimed the lives of five million soldiers and civilians. The United States helped defend South Korea (Republic of Korea), which was invaded by soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army who breached the 38th parallel boundary between the two republics in June 1950. Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded.

The July 27th armistice agreement in 1953 allowed prisoners of war to stay where they liked; drew a new boundary near the 38th parallel that gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory; and created a 2-mile-wide “demilitarized zone” that still exists today.

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