Friday, March 04, 2011

The Great War

I'm a little slow on my news these days I guess. Only today did I hear that Frank Buckles, the last US Veteran of World War I had died.

He lied about his age and enlisted at 16 serving as a ambulance driver. During World War II as a civilian working in the shipping business he was captured by the Japanese and helpd in a prison camp for nearly 4 years. Yet to all this he lived to the age of 110 and dedicated his last years to creating a national memorial for those who served in "the Great War" A memorial he never got to see built.

Born when William McKinley was president, his life spanned nearly the whole 20th Century. Its hard to imagine the world as it had changed to him. Everything we take for granted today such as cars, airplanes, computers, cell phones and GPS all invented in his lifetime.

When I was young I remember WWI veterans in the Memorial Day parade riding in a truck. Each year their numbers got smaller... and then one year there were none. Now that is true for all time, Frank was the last one. Thanks to an exception to the normal rules he will be burried at Arlington National Cemetery. Sadly, a bill to allow him to lay in state at the Capital was denied.

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