Like A Library Burning

The Great War:

The life of Frank Buckles in some ways tracks a timeline for the rise of America as a superpower. He has been witness to it all, and he is one of very few living to tell about it.

At age 106, Buckles is one of only three known living American veterans of World War I, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“For many years, I would read the figures in The Torch [a veterans magazine] in two columns — one was the number of 4.7 million-something veterans who served, and the other, which kept going down, was the number of us that were still alive,” Buckles said. “I knew one day it would come to this. But I didn’t think I would be one of the few still around to talk about it.”

Buckles is the youngest of the three known living U.S. World War I veterans. His voice is raspy, he has difficulty walking, and he needs help getting dressed each morning. But his mind is keen, and the memories of his two years in Europe during the war remain clear.


3 thoughts on “Like A Library Burning

  1. My grandfather was a World War I veteran. Alas, I didn’t talk to him as much as I should have about that or other things…in my defense, he was extremely hard of hearing AND he spoke heavily accented English, which made things difficult, although he did tell me a few stories–like how he’d volunteer for KP, which meant extra food and assignment to a back trench.
    He also was a truck driver and interpreter.
    On Friday I took advantage of ‘s free search for military records through June 6th and found his draft card. If it’s accurate, he was actually a year older than we thought, and was 101 years old when he died in 1990.

  2. how cool. i don’t know if we have any WWI vets in the family. i do know about the WW2 vets. all gone except a Gumm or 2. charlie drove for Nimitz. 1 nam vet. no korea.

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