Watch CBS News

The End Of World War I Remembered 100 Years Later

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - It was called "The Great War." An estimated 16 million people lost their lives. Coloradans played a "great role." Six hundred and 50 people from this state died fighting the war.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_2605
(credit: CBS)

So many others served and were able to make it home. Among them was William Bradley Freeman. His grandson, who shares the name, remembers him well. His nickname was "King."

"Ah 'King' Freeman was one of the most amazing men on this planet and I've seen lots of them," he told CBS4's Rick Sallinger.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_590
CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews William Bradley Freeman II. (credit: CBS)

William Bradly Freeman was named after his grandfather who first went to Siam (now Thailand) as a civilian
engineer. His namesake says the King of Siam befriended Freeman.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_639
"King" Freeman (credit: CBS)

"'King' has this marvelous throne given by the king which had two ivory tusks."

"King" later returned and commanded one of the largest mixed race battalions of the war.

"It has been 100 years, but 'King' Freeman has been in my heart since I was a little boy," his grandson, now 70, said.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_1039
(credit: CBS)

"King" was deployed in Southeast Asia. In Denver he was a member of the University Club which is honoring its more than 90 members and staff who served with a ceremony and a plaque... names that even today are familiar.

University Club plaque
(credit: CBS)
WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_1424
Temple Buell (credit: CBS)

Architect Temple Buell, wounded in a combat, he also suffered lung problems in that vicious war.

There was Herman Coors, son of Adolph, George Cranmer, his name now on a Denver park, and Lawrence Phipps Jr. whose family later bought the Denver Broncos.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_1814
Herman Coors (credit: CBS)
WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_1904
George Cranmer (credit: CBS)
WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_2054
Lawrence Phipps Jr. (credit: CBS)

This war brought others from Colorado. Denver author Jeffrey B. Miller researching a book, "WWI Crusaders" learned of Maurice Pate who graduated from Denver's East High School and volunteered in Belgium in 1916,

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_2174
(credit: CBS)

"He went behind German lines to supervise food and clothes distribution so the Germans wouldn't take the food," he said.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_2234
Maurice Pate (credit: CBS)

It was of the largest food drive in the world. Pate was what was called a "delegate" for the Commission for Relief in Belgium. This was before the United States entered the war. The "delegates" had to leave once America entered the war.

WW1 ANNIVERSARY 5PKG_frame_2823
(credit: CBS)

Miller says Pate was admirable in many ways.

100 years ago this "war to end all wars", ended, but sadly failed to live up to that.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.