Frank Buckles (Army photo)
The death of a Soldier almost always brings with it sadness and mourning.
But not this time. This time we celebrate the life of a Soldier who lived his to its fullest, and never stopped.
His name was Frank Buckles and he joined the Army when he was sixteen by lying to his recruiter. You see, there was a war going on and he wanted to be a part of it. He joined to become an ambulance driver, because he was told they see the most action. When he arrived in France, he didn’t know that he would be the last living survivor of the 4.7 million troops who signed up during WWI.
After the war he went to work as a shipper, and was in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded. He was taken prisoner and lived the next three years as a Prisoner of War. He lost 50 pounds, but survived.
As the numbers of WWI survivors began to dwindle, Frank got more active. He worked hard to convince Congress that the veterans of the Great War needed a memorial, testifying in front of Congress as late as 2009 (at age 108) that funds should be allocated for the redesignation of the DC WWI memorial already located on the mall.
He witnessed the beginning of two centuries during his long life, experienced first-hand two world wars, and remained dedicated to honoring his comrades virtually until the day he died, the last remaining American veteran of World War I.
Mourn his death? I would rather celebrate his great life.
Frank Buckles is our hero of the week.
(Info from army.mil)