Monday, February 28, 2011

Frank Buckles, the last surviving United States veteran of World War I, has passed away

            In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

                    -- Lieutenant Colonel John McRae,
                        Canadian Army
                        written near Ypres, Belgium
                        May 3, 1915

The dawn of this day will see the Great War has finally passed from any American's living memory...

Think about that: Buckles grew up talking with Civil War veterans.  And those veterans in turn, did grow up hearing stories from those who fought in the American Revolution.

Frank Buckles was the last link to a past that belongs now only to history books and secondary source material.

I pray we have not forgotten what those who came before have done for us, what they have taught us, what they have given us. 
                         
 Frank Buckles, 1917

Frank Buckles, the last living "doughboy" who volunteered to serve in the United States Army during World War I, has died.

Buckles was born in 1901.  He turned 110 on the first of this month.  He was 16 when he pestered his way (literally) into getting an Army recruiter to take him (Buckles also lied about his age and claimed to be 18).

He never saw combat, but he was proud of the fact that he tried to do his part on the front lines.  And history wasn't done with him after the armistice was signed: during World War II Buckles was doing business in the Philippines when he was captured by the Japanese.  He was a prisoner of war for three years.

Nearly 5 million people enlisted in the U.S. military from 1917 to 1918.

And now, as of this hour, they have all gone.

The last surviving Canadian soldier from World War I, John Babcock, passed away a year ago.  Two British soldiers remain with us: Claude Choules and Florence Green.  There are no surviving French or German soldiers.

Frank Buckles, 2010

Mr. Buckles, more people than you could have ever imagined, have held you in highest honor.  This morning, they are none the fewer.

Rest in peace, and go with God.  You have done well.

2 comments:

PapaBear007 said...

This is simply beautiful man

Anonymous said...

Well said Chris. Thank you.
My father told of, as a child, once at a parade seeing a very old man in one of the cars. Next to him was a hat from a civil war uniform. My Dad is in his 80's know and still gets choked up recounting how every one spontaneusly stood and saluted as the veteren passed by. The links to the past are fragile treasures. My father ends the story by saying "He who would be wise let him study history,or better yet listen to those who lived it"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Frank Buckles, the last surviving United States veteran of World War I, has passed away

            In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

                    -- Lieutenant Colonel John McRae,
                        Canadian Army
                        written near Ypres, Belgium
                        May 3, 1915

The dawn of this day will see the Great War has finally passed from any American's living memory...

Think about that: Buckles grew up talking with Civil War veterans.  And those veterans in turn, did grow up hearing stories from those who fought in the American Revolution.

Frank Buckles was the last link to a past that belongs now only to history books and secondary source material.

I pray we have not forgotten what those who came before have done for us, what they have taught us, what they have given us. 
                         
 Frank Buckles, 1917

Frank Buckles, the last living "doughboy" who volunteered to serve in the United States Army during World War I, has died.

Buckles was born in 1901.  He turned 110 on the first of this month.  He was 16 when he pestered his way (literally) into getting an Army recruiter to take him (Buckles also lied about his age and claimed to be 18).

He never saw combat, but he was proud of the fact that he tried to do his part on the front lines.  And history wasn't done with him after the armistice was signed: during World War II Buckles was doing business in the Philippines when he was captured by the Japanese.  He was a prisoner of war for three years.

Nearly 5 million people enlisted in the U.S. military from 1917 to 1918.

And now, as of this hour, they have all gone.

The last surviving Canadian soldier from World War I, John Babcock, passed away a year ago.  Two British soldiers remain with us: Claude Choules and Florence Green.  There are no surviving French or German soldiers.

Frank Buckles, 2010

Mr. Buckles, more people than you could have ever imagined, have held you in highest honor.  This morning, they are none the fewer.

Rest in peace, and go with God.  You have done well.

2 comments:

PapaBear007 said...

This is simply beautiful man

Anonymous said...

Well said Chris. Thank you.
My father told of, as a child, once at a parade seeing a very old man in one of the cars. Next to him was a hat from a civil war uniform. My Dad is in his 80's know and still gets choked up recounting how every one spontaneusly stood and saluted as the veteren passed by. The links to the past are fragile treasures. My father ends the story by saying "He who would be wise let him study history,or better yet listen to those who lived it"