Niwot honors military veterans
November 15, 2023
Blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures set the stage for Niwot's November 11th tribute to military veterans. The ceremony began at 11:00 after The Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band played several patriotic songs as the crowd gathered, including John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," and "America."
The colors were presented by Niwot Scout Troop 161, followed by the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner." This is the fifth year for the event and the veterans banner project, both sponsored by the Niwot Community Association (NCA) and the Niwot Business Association (NBA).
NCA President Dave Limbach started things off, noting it was "great to see so many people out here to honor our vets." Limbach also introduced the ceremony organizing committee of Terry Larsen, Kathy Koehler and Julie Breyer.
Next, NBA President Eric Bergeson welcomed everyone and talked of the sacrifices made by his uncle, Burton Gale Bergeson, whose banner hangs on 2nd Avenue, and by everyone who served in the armed forces. Bergeson encouraged attendees to "pause and reflect" on these sacrifices, quoting what he felt is the defining line of the film Saving Private Ryan, "Make it worth it." After the short introductions, a moment of silence was held at 11:11 a.m.
Special guest speaker and banner sponsor Mary Claire Collins spoke about her great aunt, Helen Bulovsky. Bulovsky served as a nurse in World War I in France and Belgium. Collins said that the story of her great aunt literally "came out of the attic" through Bulovsky's personal diary and letters sent home during the War, as her aunt died in her 20s of a heart ailment just a few years after the war ended.
Collins said that as part of the Army Nurse Corps training in New York prior to shipping overseas, Corps members were required to raise money for the war effort. "She (Bulovsky) raised more than anybody in her unit," Collins related. "Her bubbly personality was perfect for this. She raised $100 in five minutes just standing on a corner in New York City."
Collins also said that Bulovsky had a Brownie camera and took numerous photographs of her time in Europe. "She would often ask her family to send more developing solution to her so she could keep documenting her experience," Collins said. Collins read numerous passages from a book written about her Great Aunt entitled "Finding Helen: The Letters, Photographs and Diary of a WWI Battlefield Nurse," which is available at Inkberry Books in Niwot.
Limbach said that the Banner Project continues to be a success in its fifth year. "We have 50 banners up this year with seven or eight new additions." Banners cost $100 and will be hung for two years. Thereafter, a banner can be rehung for $25. Banners are given to the sponsor when they are no longer hung in Niwot. Limbach noted, "In these times of contentious behavior, nobody has any problem with this (the banners hung to honor veterans)." Koehler, who is also the Niwot Historical Society President noted, "I hope people continue to be interested in honoring veterans and sharing their stories."
In addition to the entertainment, The NCA and the Niwot Patriotic Cookie Moms served sweet treats, water and apple cider. Limbach thanked Pat Murphy for installing the American flags seen throughout town, and miniature American flags were also given out to all takers. The event ended with The Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band playing the official songs of each of the armed services branches, in addition to the Aretha Franklin hit "Respect" and "Danny Boy," made popular during World War I.
For more information on the Banner Project and the stories behind the banners, visit https://niwot.org/veterans/.