The Last DoughboyNovember 11, 2010 - 6:44 PM | by: Mike Tobin
On Veteran’s day, Frank Buckles holds one distinction from the rest of the dough boys: he outlived them. He is the last known living World War I Veteran. As he approaches his 110th birthday, his daughter is facing the reality that he won’t be around much longer. When he goes, the nation will be without a survivor of the Great War.
His daughter, Susanhah Buckles-Flannigan, and representatives of the family are concerned that they have not heard enough in the way of concrete plans to recognize the important chapter in history that will close when Mr. Buckles time on Earth is over. Daughter Suzanna Buckles-Flanagan says he is only interested in drawing attention to a generation of Americans who gave their all in a war that many have forgotten. “He doesn’t want any recognition for himself,” says Buckles-Flanagan.
The family has heard many encouraging comments. The late Senator Robert Byrd and current Senator Richard Burr penned a letter advocating that Buckles remains “Lie in Honor” in the Capitol Rotunda. However, a spokesman for Senator Burr says no plans can be guaranteed while Buckles is still alive. A great many factors could contribute to whether he could lay in the Rotunda, including whether Congress is in session.
An Army spokesman tells Fox News Mr. Buckles has a guaranteed spot in Arlington National Cemetery. As an ambulance driver, he did not see much combat in WWI. He was not decorated for valor but exceptions are being made. Buckles will be buried with full military honors. Those honors will include a horse drawn caisson, a full escort platoon of soldiers, a firing line and a band.
Foreign dignitaries, particularly the French, have expressed interest in paying respects. If the outpouring of respect is anything like the British experienced when their last WWI survivor, Harry Patsch passed away, hundreds of thousands will show up. The Family of Mr. Buckles wants some guarantees that the logistics will be handled.
In response to our inquiry, A White House spokesman said, the Secretary of Defense is aware of the extraordinary life and circumstance of Mr. Buckles and is working on a recommendation.