An American Hero

America’s Heroes

“From the world wars of Europe to the jungles of the Far East, from the deserts of the Middle East to the African continent, and even here in our own hemisphere, our veterans have made the world a better place and America the great country we are today.” ~ John Hoeven

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Frank Buckles was the last remaining United States World War I veteran.  He died Sunday at the age of 110 at his home in Charles Town, WV. He enlisted in World War I after lying about his age when he was only 16.  He had attempted to enlist with the Marines at first, but he was told he was too young.  When going back a week later and lying about his age, he was told he was not heavy enough. He was denied by the Navy, because he was flat-footed; finally, after lying about his age to an Army captain, he was accepted.

Buckles served in both England and France, working as a driver and a warehouse clerk.  After Armistice Day, he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

He was then captured by the Japanese in 1941 while on business in the Philippines.  He spent more than three years in prison camps.


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With the passing of Frank Buckles, there is now the loss of an important and priceless piece of America’s living and breathing history.  Yes, there are textbooks, books, movies and whatnot that offer lessons and written words of our nation’s past, but nothing compares to actually listening to someone who was there and witnessed history first-hand.

This post, a post at the beginning of March, may seem to be a bit random, but I find it fitting. Hopefully it serves as a reminder for all of us to not take for granted those who have made the most ultimate sacrifices, those who have shown such strength and such courage for America and for freedom.  Most of us know a veteran. Whether he is a grandfather, an uncle, or the random, quiet and humble elderly man we see every so often at the grocery store, it is time to say thanks, to talk to them and to value them, and to treat them with the respect and appreciation that they deserve. It has always been the time.

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“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?” ~ George Canning

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Top photo from lebanonews.net

Content on Frank Buckles, along with photo from Yahoo News.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110228/ap_on_re_us/

us_obit_last_wwi_veteran

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