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Last US Veteran of WW1 dies at age 110
February 28, 2011
8:40 am
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greeney2
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He was the last US man standing who faught in WW1 that served in England and France, just imagine what he saw in his lifetime.

Last veteran of WWI dies in W. Va. at age 110
ShareretweetEmailPrint AP – FILE -- In a May 26, 2008 file photo Frank Buckles receives an American flag during Memorial Day activities …
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By VICKI SMITH, Associated Press Vicki Smith, Associated Press – 1 hr 46 mins ago
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Frank Buckles, who lied about his age to get into uniform during World War I and lived to be the last surviving U.S. veteran of that war, has died. He was 110.

Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said in a statement. Buckles turned 110 on Feb. 1 and had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in Washington, D.C.

When asked in February 2008 how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said simply, "I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me." And he told The Associated Press he would have done it all over again, "without a doubt."

On Nov. 11, 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of the war, Buckles attended a ceremony at the grave of World War I Gen. John Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery.

"I can see what they're honoring, the veterans of World War I," he told CNN.

He was back in Washington a year later to endorse a proposal to rededicate the existing World War I memorial on the National Mall as the official National World War I Memorial. He told a Senate panel it was "an excellent idea." The memorial was originally built to honor District of Columbia's war dead.

Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917. He was repeatedly rejected before convincing an Army captain he was 18. He was 16 1/2.

"A boy of (that age), he's not afraid of anything. He wants to get in there," Buckles said.

Details for services and arrangements will be announced later this week. The family asks that donations be made to the National World War One Legacy Project. The project is managed by the nonprofit Survivor Quest and will educate students about Buckles and WWI through a documentary and traveling educational exhibition.

More than 4.7 million people joined the U.S. military from 1917-18. As of spring 2007, only three were still alive, according to a tally by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Buckles, J. Russell Coffey of Ohio and Harry Richard Landis of Florida.

The dwindling roster prompted a flurry of public interest, and Buckles went to Washington in May 2007 to serve as grand marshal of the national Memorial Day parade.

Coffey died Dec. 20, 2007, at age 109, while Landis died Feb. 4, 2008, at 108. Unlike Buckles, those two men were still in basic training in the United States when the war ended and did not make it overseas.

The last known Canadian veteran of the war, John Babcock of Spokane, Wash., died in February 2010.

There are no French or German veterans of the war left alive.

Buckles served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. The fact he did not see combat didn't diminish his service, he said: "Didn't I make every effort?"

An eager student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside.

After Armistice Day, Buckles helped return prisoners of war to Germany. He returned to the United States in January 1920.

Buckles returned to Oklahoma for a while, then moved to Canada, where he worked a series of jobs before heading for New York City. There, he again took advantage of free museums, worked out at the YMCA, and landed jobs in banking and advertising.

But it was the shipping industry that suited him best, and he worked around the world for the White Star Line Steamship Co. and W.R. Grace & Co.

In 1941, while on business in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese. He spent 3 1/2 years in prison camps.

"I was never actually looking for adventure," Buckles once said. "It just came to me."

He married in 1946 and moved to his farm in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle in 1954, where he and wife Audrey raised their daughter, Susannah Flanagan. Audrey Buckles died in 1999.

In spring 2007, Buckles told the AP of the trouble he went through to get into the military.

"I went to the state fair up in Wichita, Kansas, and while there, went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps," he said. "The nice Marine sergeant said I was too young when I gave my age as 18, said I had to be 21."

Buckles returned a week later.

"I went back to the recruiting sergeant, and this time I was 21," he said with a grin. "I passed the inspection ... but he told me I just wasn't heavy enough."

Then he tried the Navy, whose recruiter told Buckles he was flat-footed.

Buckles wouldn't quit. In Oklahoma City, an Army captain demanded a birth certificate.

"I told him birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I said, 'You don't want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?'" Buckles said with a laugh. "He said, 'OK, we'll take you.'"

He enlisted Aug. 14, 1917, serial number 15577.

February 28, 2011
2:43 pm
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WarAngel
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"greeney2" wrote: He was the last US man standing who faught in WW1 that served in England and France, just imagine what he saw in his lifetime.

Last veteran of WWI dies in W. Va. at age 110
In a May 26, 2008 file photo Frank Buckles receives an American flag during Memorial Day activities
He enlisted Aug. 14, 1917, serial number 15577.

Thank you for your service Mr. Buckles.

What if it were true?

March 4, 2011
7:40 am
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greeney2
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Can't imagine why he would be turned down this honor?

Capitol ceremony for WWI vet blocked in Congress
ShareretweetEmailPrintBy ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Alan Fram, Associated Press – Thu Mar 3, 9:42 pm ET
WASHINGTON – West Virginia's two Democratic senators blamed House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday after their hopes of having the remains of World War I veteran Frank Buckles honored in the Capitol Rotunda were dashed, at least for now.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III both released statements saying the Ohio Republican had blocked the Capitol honor. Asked if that were true, Boehner spokesman Mike Steel said the speaker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would seek Defense Department permission for a ceremony for Buckles at Arlington National Cemetery.

Buckles died Sunday on his farm in Charles Town, W.Va., at the age of 110. He had been the last surviving American veteran of World War I.

The episode turned what West Virginia lawmakers had hoped would be easy approval for the rare honor for Buckles into a finger-pointing dispute with partisan overtones.

It was unclear late Thursday how the disagreement would end. Asked whether Boehner would be supportive if the Senate approved a resolution allowing Buckles' remains to lie in the Rotunda, Steel said, "We'll see what the Senate does."

The honor requires a congressional resolution or the approval of congressional leaders, according to the office of the architect of the Capitol.

The bodies of prominent citizens have been displayed in the Rotunda on 30 occasions, starting in 1852 with Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator and congressman. Others include President Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, unknown soldiers from America's wars and civil rights hero Rosa Parks.

Steel said Boehner and Reid will ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to allow a memorial service for Buckles at Arlington National Cemetery in nearby Arlington, Va., "surrounded by honored veterans of every American war."

Reid spokesman Jon Summers said Reid and Boehner were "discussing alternatives." Summers would provide no additional detail.

Members of both parties of West Virginia's congressional delegation had introduced resolutions to permit Buckles' casket to be honored in the Capitol. The House version was sponsored by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

In his statement, Rockefeller called the dispute "a big disappointment and a surprising decision by the speaker."

Manchin said, "I urge Speaker Boehner to reconsider this ill-advised decision. After all, there won't be another request like this.

Rockefeller spokesman Vince Morris said lawmakers expected the resolution to "sail through" Congress this week.

"We're kind of in a standoff," Morris said. "We're upset."

Were Buckles granted the honor, he would be considered to "lain in honor." The term "lain in state" is traditionally reserved for elected U.S. officials or military officers, according to the office of the clerk of the House.

In his final years, Buckles had campaigned for greater recognition for the 4.7 million Americans who joined the military in 1917 and 1918 during World War I. Among his goals was a national memorial in Washington for those who served in that conflict.

President Barack Obama has ordered that flags on U.S. government buildings fly at half-staff on the day Buckles is buried. His family has said they plan to inter him at Arlington, just across the Potomac River from the capital.

Buckles enlisted at age of 16 after lying about his age. He served in England and France, mostly as a driver and warehouse clerk. After the war ended, he helped repatriate German prisoners of war, returning to the U.S. in January 1920.

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