Frank Buckles

11/11/11: Honoring Our Veterans Appropriately

Today is Veterans Day, when we remember and commemorate the sacrifices of our veterans in all wars since World War II, now that in the past year the last veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, passed away at age 110.

President Barack Obama has been the strongest advocate of veterans and their needs since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and yesterday, the US Senate, in a very rare moment of unity, voted 94-1 to back the promotion of tax credits to employers who hire veterans coming home from our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The one negative vote came from South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who used the excuse that he did not believe in any “preferential treatment” for any group of Americans over others!

This is absolutely disgraceful reasoning and behavior, as if there is any group which deserves “preferential treatment” to honor their sacrifices and loss of employment advancement, it is our veterans who put themselves in “harm’s way” to defend our country.

2.4 million men and women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, less than one percent of the population, and many have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as crippling and lasting physical injuries. Over 6,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice.

So these veterans deserve “preferential treatment” in obtaining employment, gaining necessary health care, being given assistance in gaining education, and being allowed to have adequate housing.

We salute our veterans and we should offer each a salute and a hug when we have the opportunity to meet them, as they have preserved our nation’s security while we went about our daily business, being fortunate to live in the greatest nation of the world, which affords us the opportunity to pursue our dreams and our goals.

America’s veterans are our HEROES, and let’s not forget that!

World War I Goes Into History: The Link To Today And Terrorism

In February, America’s last surviving veteran of the First World War, Frank Buckles, died.

Now we have news that the last combat veteran of the war, a British national, who later settled in Australia, named Claude Choules, has died, also at the same age of 110.

After the death of Frank Buckles, the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri held a service and commemoration of the passing of the last American soldier of that war.

It was noted that Americans had changed their view of the world totally when they abandoned isolationism and joined the war effort in Europe, and how so many sacrificed their lives and their heatlh to serve in a just cause.

Now that the last “doughboy” and last European combat veteran have both died, it is fitting that we recognize 97 years after that Great War commenced, and with the death of Osama Bin Laden by courageous Navy SEALS doing their duty to protect America, that the war against terrrorism has had a victory, but that the battle for freedom and security must go on in a world fraught with dangers not that different than a century ago!

Two Deaths Of Note: Frank Buckles And Duke Snider And The True Arrival Of History

Yesterday, February 27, was a day where the nation lost two significant public figures, one who had no desire to be, and one who was in the headlines for many years.

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, which he entered at age 16 in 1917, passed away within a month after his 110th birthday. He sought no fame, but testified before Congress last year for a World War I Memorial on the level of the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II Memorials already on the Washington Mall, to honor veterans of those wars.

Buckles never actually came close to war duty itself, being at least 30 miles from the war trenches in France, but he came to represent the nearly five million Americans who served in World War I, and the two million who actually went off to the war front.

He became nationally known in 2007, when he was named grand marshal of the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, DC. He also was a guest at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day 2007 for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. He also was honored by Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon, and met with President George W. Bush at the White House in 2008.

He was a prisoner of war in the Philippines in World War II, due to his work for a shipping company in Manila, and the seizure of that country by the Japanese, surviving 38 months of harsh imprisonment and finally freed by an American rescue mission.

Buckles will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a traditional white marble headstone, the last living memory of the Great War, the war to end all wars, which did no such thing, regrettably.

Also passing away was a famous baseball slugger, Duke Snider of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the favorite players of the author as a child growing up in New York City, and being a fan of “dem Bums”!

Snider had to compete with Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees as a center fielder, and was often thought to be just number three when compared to them, but to many, he was simply “the Duke”!

Snider had 40 or more home runs five straight years, something not achieved by Mays or Mantle. He helped the Dodgers to win their only World Series in Brooklyn in 1955, and was seen as the super star of the team, even as compared to Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, and Carl Erskine, among others.

Snider managed to hit 407 home runs lifetime, batted .300 or better seven times, had a lifetime batting average of .295, and had over 2,000 hits, and was among the leaders in runs batted in numerous times.

With his death, the last significant player on the old Brooklyn Dodgers has passed away, age 84, and makes the Dodgers truly a part of history, just as much as Frank Buckles’s death marks the true end of World War I for America!

This is a sad time for those who realize how history has truly taken over, not only with Buckles and Snider, but also last month with the death of Sargent Shriver, marking the true end of the Kennedy Presidency and its entrance into history, much the same as the First World War and the Brooklyn Dodgers!

Celebration! :) Frank Buckles, Only Living Veteran Of World War One Celebrates His 110th Birthday! :)

A miracle is being celebrated today, as Frank Buckles, the only living American veteran of World War I, which ended 93 years ago, becomes 110 years old! 🙂

Joining the American military by lying about his age of 16, Buckles has survived longer than any veteran of the war, and likely longer than any veteran of any American war in our entire history!

Buckles is still lucid, although he uses a wheelchair, and he testified last year before Congress of the need for a World War I Memorial on the level of those for World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

It has already been arranged that Buckles will be buried eventually in Arlington National Cemetery, and that special military presence by the British and French will be part of his funeral, which is sure to be a national event covered by the news media in depth!

On this day, Buckles is to be saluted for his birthday and his longevity, as the only link we have to the First World War, which began 97 years ago with the hope that it would make the world a better place, which, unfortunately, it has not, as no war makes the world a better place, but rather just deals with the immediate crisis that endangers world peace!