Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Frank Buckles Lacks the Courtesy to Die Already

They're planning quite an event in Kansas City. It will pay tribute to the 4 million American men and women who answered the call to fight in the first world war, it will honor the families who sent young soldiers off to battle long before telephones or e-mail allowed them routine updates on their safety, and it will salute a generation that led the nation through a Great War, a Great Depression, a great renewal. But one man is holding up the party: 107 year-old WWI veteran Frank Buckles.

But none of it will transpire until one man -- a father, a grandfather, a living piece of history -- dies. Two weeks ago, the second-to-last American veteran of World War I, Harry Landis, of Sun City Center, died at the age of 108. Landis' passing leaves one man, 107-year-old Frank Buckles, the sole surviving U.S. doughboy.

Buckles, of Charles Town, W.Va., remains in remarkably good health, still living at home and doing media interviews, still mentally sharp and physically mobile, still exercising every day. Yet when he goes, so, too, will a generation. So plans are being made at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City to commemorate the end of an era.
Here's hoping Frank Buckles outlives the entire planning committee. Seriously, the article details basically the entire program for the event. Would it be so terrible to release this information after Buckles is unable to read it?

[Chicago Tribune]

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