Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Buckles

America's last surviving World War I vet turned 110 today. You read that right: 110.

More from Bill Lohmann of the Richmond Times-Dispatch .

As Lohmann notes in his column, Frank Buckles is one of only three living veterans of the First World War, and the only Army survivor from any of the combatants. The only other survivors served in Britain's Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, respectively.

Mr. Buckles is also a reminder of how badly we treated our veterans of the Great War. When they came home from France, there was no GI Bill, no VA, and none of the benefits given to those who served in later conflicts. They were expected to pick up with their lives and most did, with little fanfare and no assistance from Uncle Sam.

Even today, there is no World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. The only edifice that honors those who served is a small, domed Doric-style temple on the National Mall. Restoration of the memorial began last fall. We hope Mr. Buckles is still around when the job is finished and the memorial is rededicated.


Anonymous said...

Actually, that they picked up with their lives is a testiment to them. No complaints, no welfare, no nothing, except, of course, service to their country.

And that is how it should be. WWII and current vets are always demanding something. Just look how easily vets get disability now, some bogus stress claim and it is all about the benjamins.

Today's vet has nothing on our WWI vets. Bully for them. No complaints, just honorable service, and lots of hard work afterwards.

Straight 8 said...

There is an outstanding WWI Museum in Kansas City at Liberty Memorial. The original obelisk structure was, I believe, built in the 1920s, and stands just across from Union Station. I encourage everyone to visit the updated interactive musem.

The fundraising and dedication of the original Memorial is quite a testament to Kansas City's appreciation of WWI veterans, and a very inspiring story in and of itself.