A century after the end of World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), curators from the Museum of the San Ramon Valley are recognizing the local soldiers who fought and died in the Great War, as well as the devastating Spanish flu that ravaged the world in the years after the war ended.
“The War to End All Wars: A Great War Centennial” opens in the museum on Saturday and will serve as the museum's last exhibit of 2018, running through Dec. 30.
“Step back 100 years with us and remember World War I. It marked the beginning of the American Century and America’s leadership in promoting democracy worldwide,” museum marketing director John Keenan wrote in a statement.
Displays will focus on the last days of the war, with a special focus on the service of local men and women who participated in it.
A number of young men and women from the San Ramon Valley went off to war. While many survived, such as Jim Root, Tony and Paul Noia, Merton Groom, Lorenz Humburg, Frank Enos, Ed Anderson, Noel Norris, Romie Thorup and nurse Ella Olsson, five "Liberty Boys" did not return, including George Freitas, Peter Byers, Simeon Anderson, Lloyd Wood and William Peterson.
In all, 116,516 Americans lost their lives in the struggle, which saw over 4 million United States residents conscripted or enlisted into service. This is contrasted to the estimated 9 million deaths from European countries, many of whom were civilians, museum organizers said.
The exhibit will also document the far reaching and catastrophic effects of the Spanish flu, which ravaged the world in postwar years from 1918-19.
Dwarfing the number of lives lost in the war, it is estimated that 50 million to 100 million people died from the influenza, according to museum officials -- that was 2-3% of the world’s population at the time.
While attempting to recover from the war, the U.S. is said to have suffered over 670,000 fatalities from the influenza which was then commonly known as the "Plague of the Spanish Lady."
The Museum of the San Ramon Valley is located in the restored Southern Pacific Depot, 205 Railroad Ave. in downtown Danville. Hours are Tuesdays through Fridays 1-4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays noon to 3 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased in person, $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children. Members can visit the exhibit for free.