Luther Bergeland is one of veterans being honored during the Memorial Day Tribute at Folsom Field at the conclusion of the 2022 BOLDERBoulder.
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Walking through the Broomfield Veterans Museum with Luther Bergeland is like stepping into a history book with the author. Drafted just a few months after his high school graduation, the history shared in the museum is Luther’s history.
“The Army was a vacation for us guys raised on the farm,” the Minnesota native jokes.
A member of the Army’s 547th Field Infantry Battalion, Bergeland served on the front lines in Europe during WWII. It was during a battle that he made a decision that would define the rest of his life.
“The Lord found me in a foxhole, I guess,” he recalls. “I kind of came back to my faith and then I decided at that time I needed to do something with my life other than farming.”
That something was becoming a pastor. He went to college and seminary back home in Minnesota before rejoining the Army, this time as a chaplain, during the Korean War.
“I enjoyed conducting services in the field and being with the guys in the trenches,” he says of the time.
Bergeland didn’t shy away from battles. In fact, he earned a Bronze Star, the Army’s honor for heroic achievement, while serving as a chaplain in Korea.
“A number of Chinese divisions were moving against us,” Bergeland says describing the night he earned the Bronze Star. "It got to be kind of chaotic, and the South Korean troops were retreating through our ranks. Kind of chaotic. I directed traffic and got things going.”
It was after his time in Korea that Bergeland and his growing family moved to Boulder, where he continued to serve his church. He also continued to serve his country as a member of the Army Reserves.
One night week during the Vietnam War, Luther would make his way to Fitzsimons Army Hospital. While he ministered to the soldiers being treated there, what he remembers the most is sharing the news with area families that they had lost a loved one in the war.
“We went to the addresses we were given and told them that they lost their child or husband. It’s very difficult,” he says.
Luther Bergeland spent 40 years serving his country during three different wars. Despite the trauma of war and the heartbreak of sharing bad news with Colorado families, he said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I always liked the military very much because it just did a lot for me. I hope I did a lot for it.