News: WWII exhibit honors veterans in Trinidad
Story by Staff Sgt. Ruth Pagan
TRINIDAD, Colo. – Soldiers form 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were invited to attend an exhibit of World War II memorabilia and reception for the local WWII veterans held at The Mitchell Art Center in Trinidad, Oct. 20.
The event honored the WWII veterans and allowed them to interact with the community and share some of their experiences.
“These warriors not only used their strength to defeat their enemies, but were also generous and compassionate custodians of liberty and helped rebuild countries, write constitutions and paved the way toward democracy,” said Brig. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves, 4th Infantry Division deputy commanding general for maneuver, who was asked to speek at the event. “They did not fight to conquer the world, but to liberate it.”
All of the items in the exhibit came from a private owner and had never been viewed before.
“When I saw the exhibit, I was speechless,” said Jason Starkovich, collector and exhibit owner. “I’ve known some of the veterans growing up, so its nice to see them being honored in this way.”
The honorees were impressed with the exhibit.
“It’s great to see all of this stuff,” said Lowell Thompson, one of the honorees. “They have pictures of me that I had forgotten about.”
The Trinidad community sent out an invitation for the “Bison” soldiers to attend.
“It was an absolute honor to meet the WWII veterans, to be able to sit down and talk with them,” said Maj. Jerome Barbour, operations officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg. “We are happy that Trinidad gave us the opportunity to do that.”
Soldiers were given the chance to volunteer to come to the event.
“I volunteered for this because I wanted to see the lineage and meet the men who paved the way for me,” said Sgt. Meral Smith, machinist, both with Troop D, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “The stories that they shared with us gave me a sense of pride and respect.”
Being able to meet the veterans gave the soldiers an opportunity ask questions about their experiences.
“It was very interesting because my grandfather was there, but he passed when I was 15, so I never really got to ask him questions, but today I got to ask those questions from guys that maybe went through the same things he did,” said Sgt. Matthew Callihan, cavalry scout, Troop A, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg. “Being able to hear the things they went through seems a lot crazier then the things we go through; these guys are heroes.”
Respect for past and present soldiers was evident throughout the event.
“To see the different generations of Soldiers and the respect that they have for each other is awesome,” Starkovich said.
The WWII vets inspired the soldiers with their accomplishments.
“It was good to come out here and hear the stories and witness what they went through; it makes me want to push harder in what I want to do in the military,” Smith said.