The End of an Era - America's Last WWI Vet Dies at 110

A sad moment in history was noted yesterday with the passing of the last surviving Veteran of the World War I era.  Frank Buckles died at his home in West Virginia yesterday, a little more than a month after his 110th birthday. What a wonderful life of change this man must have led.

Frank was born in Missouri in 1901 in the days of horse drawn wagons. At the age of 16, he lied about his age and followed his friends into the Army.  While he never saw combat, he served his nation during its time of need. He served as a driver and a warehouse clerk. When the war ended, he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

The final years of his life were spent bringing honor to the 4.7 million Americans who joined the military during WWI. He worked tirelessly in the effort to complete the WWI memorial to honor his fallen comrades. In 2008, Buckles became the "Last Doughboy".

Two other foreign veterans still survive. Those are Florence Green in the United Kingdom and Claude Choules in Australia. Green turned 110 two weeks ago and Choules will be 110 later this month.

The day before Frank Buckles died, he spent 3 hours enjoying the warm sunshine with his daughter, sitting on the front porch of his farmhouse in WV.  She had worked very hard to keep Frank in his home to his final days.

Arrangements are being made for Buckles to be buried in Arlington National Cemetary. Waivers are being granted for his special status as the last surviving American Veteran of WWI. Otherwise, he would not meet the criteria to be buried in Arlington. President Obama has ordered the American flag on all federal buildings and installations be lowered to half-staff on the day of his burial.

More information about the life of Frank W. Buckles can be learned from a website in his honor, Pershing's Last Patriot.

Thank you Frank Buckles and to all those who served this nation in its time of need during WWI. This country would not be the beacon of freedom without Americans like Frank and his comrads who were willing to put their lives on the line to pass the legacy of freedom down for many generations. I hope we can live up to the honor he has bestowed upon us all.

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God bless you and your services Cpl. Buckles. Your honor guard is standing tall at the entrance to the Gates of Heaven. Along and respectful salute to you sir. DR/USN/RET
 

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