Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Frank Buckles, 1901-2011. R.I.P.

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of WWI, died on Sunday at the age of 110.

Buckles, who served as an ambulance driver and medic in France, also spent 3½ years as a civilian P.O.W. in the Phillipines during WWII.

With Buckles' passing this leaves only two surviving WWI veterans in the entire world both of whom are British. Florence Green, who served with the Women's Royal Air Force, turned 110 last month while Claude Choules, who saw combat in both WWI and WWII, turns 110 on March 3rd.

Soon there will be no one tell us what happened in the war to end all wars. Yes, we have movies, books, photographs and even their letters. While they give us some insight into what happened it is no substitute for a living, breathing human being who experienced it all firsthand to tell the story to someone who has never heard it before.

While we honor Buckles' service to this country we should also be mindful of the fact that a vital part of our country's history is forever gone. So as the veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq pass on we must not only keep their memories alive but we must remind ourselves and inform succeeding generations why they fought for the United States of America. It is a matter too important to cede to the agenda of others.

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