Last U.S. World War I veteran dies

Discussion in 'Military' started by Sunni Man, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Sunni Man
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    Sunni Man Diamond Member

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    Washington (CNN) -- Frank Buckles, the last U.S. World War I veteran, has died, a spokesman for his family said Sunday. He was 110.

    Buckles "died peacefully in his home of natural causes" early Sunday morning, the family said in a statement sent to CNN late Sunday by spokesman David DeJonge.

    Buckles marked his 110th birthday on February 1, but his family had earlier told CNN he had slowed considerably since last fall, according his daughter Susannah Buckles Flanagan, who lives at the family home near Charles Town, West Virginia.

    Buckles, who served as a U.S. Army ambulance driver in Europe during what became known as the "Great War," rose to the rank of corporal before the war ended. He came to prominence in recent years, in part because of the work of DeJonge, a Michigan portrait photographer who had undertaken a project to document the last surviving veterans of that war.

    As the years continued, all but Buckles had passed away, leaving him the "last man standing" among U.S. troops who were called "The Doughboys."

    Buckles made history when he was asked to testify in Congress on the matter before a House committee on December 3, 2009.

    "I have to," he told CNN when he came to Washington, as part of what he considered his responsibility to honor the memory of fellow-veterans.

    Buckles, after World War I ended, took up a career as a ship's officer on merchant vessels. He was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II and held prisoner of war for more than three years before he was freed by U.S. troops.

    Never saying much about his POW experience, Buckles instead wanted attention drawn to the plight of the D.C. War Memorial. During a visit to the run-down, neglected site a few years ago, he went past the nearby World War II memorial without stopping, even as younger veterans stopped and saluted the old soldier in his wheelchair as he went by.

    Renovations to the structure began last fall, but Buckles, with his health already failing, could not make a trip to Washington to review the improvements. The National Park Service is overseeing efforts that include replacing a neglected walkway and dressing up a deteriorated dome and marble columns.

    Details for services and arrangements will be announced in the days ahead, the family statement said.

    Flanagan, his daughter, said preliminary plans began weeks ago, with the Military District of Washington expressing its support for an honors burial at Arlington, including an escort platoon, a horse-drawn casket arrival, a band and a firing party.

    "It has long been my father's wish to be buried in Arlington, in the same cemetery that holds his beloved General Pershing," Flanagan wrote as she began to prepare for the inevitable in a letter she sent to home-state U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.

    Buckles' family asks that donations be made to the National World War I Legacy Project to honor Frank Buckles and the 4,734,991 Americans that he served with during World War I. Details can be found at: Frank Woodruff Buckles :: America's Last Survivor of the First World War

    Last U.S. World War I veteran dies - CNN.com
     
  2. High_Gravity
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    High_Gravity Belligerent Drunk Supporting Member

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    R.i.p
     
  3. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    When I was visiting my grandfather, a WWII bomber pilot, in Kittanning PA in 1979, we were driving somewhere and he pointed out a man walking on the sidewalk. He was walking slowly with a cane all hunched over and dressed in what looked like a 20's era suit and a top hat. "He's a WWI pilot" my grandpa said.

    Ever since then I've regretted not getting my grandfather to pull over so I could meet him.
     
  4. Sunni Man
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    Sunni Man Diamond Member

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    Wow, that would have been a special moment.

    btw The average combat life-span for a WWI pilot was something like 14 days. :eek:
     
  5. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I think most of them were killed or injured in accidents and not from actual combat.
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    I think that more US troops died from influenza than from combat in WWI.

    The influenza pandemic that swept though the USA and Europe started in a US army camp in Kansas if memory serves me.
     
  7. The Gadfly
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    The Gadfly Senior Member

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    The old soldiers are passing into history, now. The last from the Great War is gone; the veterans of WW II are leaving us too, about a thousand of them every day; and the vets of Korea aren't far behind. Even the veterans of Vietnam are growing old; before too long, we too, will rejoin our fallen brothers, who never got to grow old.

    With the soldiers go the battles, fading into the mists of time; until all that remains is the history books, the moldering stacks of after-action and casualty reports, the old dusty diaries, faded photographs and old uniforms in forgotten footlockers, and the fields of stones, row on row. With them go the memories, of terror and sacrifice, of the noise and chaos of battle, of brutal heat, and frozen cold, of that mixture of pride, honor and horror war burns into every soldier's soul for the rest of his life.

    Thank God, the ranks of those who carry those memories are fewer now, but may they, and those silent remnants left behind by those who went before, be enough to remind an increasingly larger share of the population what freedom costs, when another generation's installment of the bill comes due.

    Farewell, departed brothers-in-arms, until we meet on the other side of the river, where there is no more war, but peace.
     
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  8. Sallow
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    Sallow The Big Bad Wolf. Supporting Member

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    Wow.

    Nicely put. :clap2:
     
  9. ginscpy
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    ginscpy Senior Member

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    I think I might have been living while there were still a few Civil War vets around.

    To serve in the Civil War - they would have had to be born not much later than 1847 or so.

    I was born 1953. Scary thought. Feel older just thinking about it.
     

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