Ceremony honors vets, marks 100th birthday of Rainbow Division
A ceremony in Garden City Saturday honored a group of veterans who served in a military division that was founded during World War I.
Veterans and service members gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division, which was founded at what was Camp Albert L. Mills at the time.
When the US needed to ramp up troops for WWI, then-Maj. Douglas MacArthur came up with the idea of forming the Rainbow Division. Its nickname came about after MacArthur described it as an organization that would "stretch over the whole country like a rainbow."
"We had a very small army, and it was decided to take National Guard units from 26 different states and District of Columbia and bring them together and form a division," says retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, chairman of the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation.
More than 200,000 troops came through Camp Mills in Garden City during WWI. Nearly 3,000 did not make it back, and more than 13,000 were injured.
"We're here almost a hundred years to the day to honor these men and the sacrifices they made," Taluto says.
In preparation of the commemoration, the Village of Garden City cleaned and restored the Rainbow Division monument that was erected in 1941