Happy Veterans Day + a Little Dose of History
Happy Veterans Day, Lowry. As a former Air Force Base, this holiday holds special importance to our neighborhood. Lowry Field, first an Army Air Corps Base in 1937, then becoming an Air Force base in 1948, has seen many years of Veterans Day celebrations. Over one million men and women were part of the military era here until the base closed in 1994.
This honorary day coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. It was originally created to honor the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Not to be confused with Memorial Day, Veterans Day celebrates the heroic service of all U.S. Military Veterans while Memorial Day celebrates those who lost their lives in service.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics state that only a little over 600,000 men and women are still alive of the over 16 million that served in WW II. The preservation of Lowry's historic Air Force base buildings and hangars honor those that lived, taught, learned and worked here - a great way for us to stay connected to our proud history.
Did you know that Lowry is named for a Denver born son that was killed in WW I: Francis Brown Lowry? Born in Denver in 1894, Lieutenant Lowry graduated from Denver Manual Training High School in 1913 and attended Ann Arbor University in Michigan. When he graduated with a degree in engineering in 1917, he immediately joined the Officers’ Training School. He became a photographic aerial observer and gunner and was assigned to the 91st Aero Squadron in France as a second lieutenant. His first flight took place in June 1918 and by September of that year he had flown 22 missions over enemy lines. On September 26, 1918 he and his pilot took off on an important photographic mission in support of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In cloudy and stormy weather they flew over the enemy lines and into anti-aircraft fire. A shell made a direct hit on their wood and fabric plane and it broke apart killing both the pilot, Lt. Kelty and Lt. Lowry. He was originally buried in a French cemetery and then transferred to Fairmount Cemetery in 1921. His grave still stands in Fairmount Cemetery, across the street from Lowry's South neighborhood at Alameda and Quebec.
Happy Veterans Day.
This piece was written in conjunction with Lowry resident Chuck Woodward, co-author of Lowry: Military Base to New Urban Community.