Doughboys Honored Via Last Surviving American WWI Veteran
Memorial Day has been a day that’s hard for me to mark each year. When our country goes to war, people die — how many of our nation’s wars can we look back at and say “This was a cause worth dying for”?
The armistice at the end of World War I was the date of the traditional Memorial Day. As far as historians know, there is only one American veteran of that war still living — and he’s being honored this Memorial day:
Frank Woodruff Buckles, 107 years old and the only known remaining United States veteran of World War I, was celebrated Sunday at the Liberty Memorial as the “last surviving link” to the Great War, which ended 90 years ago.
He was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Gold Medal of Merit and sat for a photographic portrait that will hang in the National World War I Museum.
The flag flown today outside of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri will be presented to the former Cpl. Buckles tomorrow.
On a weekend that these days seems to be more celebrated for it’s “blowout” sales of mattresses, BBQ grills, and new cars, perhaps it’s welcome news — and perhaps sad news too — to note that the last surviving American veteran of The War To End All Wars is standing in for the soldiers for the end of the war for which Memorial Day was first conceived.
For me, he stands in for more than just his war. When I eat my barbeque grilled, 98% fat free hot dog today, I’ll be thinking of Mr. Buckles standing in for all of those who sacrificed their lives in service to America’s ideals of liberty, equality, justice, and peace.
D’oh! got my Veterans Day and Memorial Day histories mixed up! Memorial Day goes back to the Civil War!