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con-pilot
25th May 2008, 18:13
Some musing about the Memorial Day weekend.

It may seem that one could be accused of bemusing this fact on this Memorial Day weekend, never the less the following facts are in fact true.

From the most accurate records kept about World War I, the Great War as it was called then, 4,734,991 Americans served during the United States involvement of that war. It may interest you to know that 4,734,990 have passed, leaving just one man still alive.

His name is Frank Buckles, he is 107 years old, he was born in February, 1901. If he had been born 14 months earlier he would have lived in three centuries. He lied about his age, 16, to an Army recruiter in Oklahoma City after being turned down by the Marines and the Navy. He never saw combat during the war, however, as an Ambulance driver in France he, in his words, "I saw the results". After the war he was mustered out of the Army with $143.90 in his pocket. Frank returned to Oklahoma City and attended business school which lead him to secure a job in the steamship industry.

Frank was working for a shipping company on December 7, 1941, in Manila. He became a prisoner of the Japanese for 39 months.

From all reports Frank is still a keen reader, has an active mind and his voice is still strong and clear. On this Memorial Day he will the highlight of the Memorial Day Parade and fireworks celebration in Kansas City, Missouri.

Truly he is, "The last man standing."

God bless him and his generation.

arcniz
25th May 2008, 20:23
Great report con-pilot!

One take-away message might be that breathing is much more dangerous than war -- it just takes a bit longer to get you.

airship
25th May 2008, 22:16
I for one would feel very proud just to shake hands with him. Perhaps someday, far off into the future, they will wake up and realise that the last but one war veteran from the last war anywhere also just passed away. Meanwhile, veterans like Mr. Buckles are a deservedly constant reminder of the fragilities of our civilisations.

S'land
25th May 2008, 22:51
Seeing how few survivors of WWI there are just makes me feel old. After all, we are talking about my Grandparent and their generation. When I started work I even worked with a few, although to be honest they were either coming up for retirement or over retirement age. As Airship says, it will not be many years before the veterans of WWII disappear.

Dushan
26th May 2008, 01:14
Every year prior to November 11, Canadian equivalent of Memorial Day, veterans stand around malls collecting donations and offering poppies which are the symbol of Canadian (and other Commonwealth) veterans. Whenever I buy one, these old men say "thank you".. With a tension in my throat and holding back tears I always say "No Sir, than you, for having been there, and making it possible for me to be here"

Just watching the PBS broadcast from DC. As always touching...

Blacksheep
26th May 2008, 06:59
Here in Belgium, every day is a memorial day, when Last Post is sounded at the Menin Gate.

Lest we forget.

NotPilotAtALL
26th May 2008, 08:15
Hi,

Indeed.

http://www.fylde.demon.co.uk/menin.htm

Very special .. was not aware of this fact.

Cheers for now.

goudie
26th May 2008, 09:10
Last Post is sounded at the Menin Gate.

Blacksheep
Witnessed this ceremony 2 years ago during a visit to the WW1 graves, it was very moving. On the coach back to U.K. it was very quiet as we reflected on what we had seen.

Binoculars
27th May 2008, 12:04
With a tension in my throat and holding back tears I always say "No Sir, than (sic) you, for having been there, and making it possible for me to be here"

It would be lovely to think the same adulation was passed on to the Vietnam vets, but we all know such was not the case. Do you, Dushan, treat them with the same reverence?

Dushan
27th May 2008, 13:49
Do you, Dushan, treat them with the same reverence?

I most certainly do.

djk
27th May 2008, 19:38
The last surviving central powers WWI veteran, Franz Künstler, has died (http://www.sz-online.de/nachrichten/artikel.asp?id=1838355).

Meanwhile, oldest UK WWI vet, Henry Allingham is 2 weeks shy of his 112th birthday.