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The University Memorial Center is Colorado's "...living memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of Colorado veterans." - The UMC Mission Statement, 2013
In 1947, Colorado Governor Lee Knous proclaimed the planned University of Colorado student union a memorial to “those who served in these great wars.” And so the CU student center was named "University Memorial Center" (UMC) in tribute to all Colorado veterans, men and women, who have served or are currently serving our country.
A Veterans Lounge, located on the 2nd floor of the UMC next to the Reception Desk, displays dedication plaques memorializing University of Colorado students and citizens from across the state who died in WWI, WWII, Vietnam, the conflict in Korea, and the Persian/Gulf Wars. There is also a plaque recognizing CU’s involvement in the U.S. Japanese/Oriental Language School. On November 11, 2011, the UMC dedicated two more memorial plaques for the citizens of Colorado who died in the conflict in Iraq and in the conflict in Afghanistan. The UMC continues to work with CU's Department of Veterans Affairs to honor the memory of Coloradoans involved in current conflicts.
The UMC Veterans Lounge
In the UMC Veterans Lounge you'll see many original artifacts from the U.S.S. Colorado, the third ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 38th state.
Dave Runkle constructed and donated a waterline one meter scale model of the U.S.S. Colorado in 1988 to the Veteran's Lounge by the U.S.S. Colorado Alumni Association in 2002.
Among the artifacts are the Ship’s Bell and Stern Pilot Wheel, and on November 11, 2004 the U.S.S. Colorado Association presented the U.S.S. Colorado 48 star "Sunday Flag" to the University Memorial Center.
About the U.S.S. Colorado
The U.S.S. Colorado was undergoing overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard when Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor opened the Pacific War. She was stationed on the U.S. West Coast during March-August 1942, then steamed west to Pearl Harbor.
From November 1942 into September 1943, she was one of the older battleships deployed to the South Pacific to guard against possible Japanese offensive actions in that area. In November 1943, Colorado took part in the Tarawa invasion. She supported the landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok in January and February 1944 and the Marianas operation in June and July.
On July 24, 1944, while bombarding Tinian, she was hit by enemy shore batteries, suffering serious casualties among exposed personnel topside.
Colorado's next combat duty was off Leyte in November 1944, where she was hit by two "Kamikaze" suicide planes late in the month. Remaining in the combat zone, she supported the Mindoro invasion in December and the Lingayen Gulf landings in January. During March, April and May 1945, Colorado's sixteen-inch guns bombarded Okinawa in support of U.S. troops ashore. In August and September 1945, she covered the occupation of Japan, then departed for the United States. In total, 93 men lost their lives aboard the U.S.S. Colorado during WWII.
Following transport service in late 1945, she was inactivated. U.S.S. Colorado was decommissioned in January 1947.