...He didn't seek the spotlight, but when Frank Buckles outlived every other American who'd served in World War I, he became what his biographer called "the humble patriot" and final torchbearer for the memory of that fading conflict.
Buckles enlisted in World War I at 16 after lying about his age. He died Sunday on his farm in Charles Town, nearly a month after his 110th birthday. He had devoted the last years of his life to campaigning for greater recognition for his former comrades, prodding politicians to support a national memorial in Washington and working with friend and family spokesman David DeJonge on a biography...
Frank Buckles lied about his age to various recruiters to get into the war. Finally, the Army accepted him and he made it into the "Great War."
Buckles served as a clerk and a driver during the war, and after the armistice was signed, helped to repatriate German prisoners back to Germany.
In 1942, he was working as a civilian in the Philippines when he was captured and interred in the infamous Los Banos prison camp. He survived 39 months in that hellhole before being rescued by the 11th Airborne Division.
He spent the rest of his life as a soft spoken advocate for his generation of heroes. He was recently honored by Secretary Gates and President Obama.
He lived a life worth living.
Godspeed, Corporal Frank Buckles. Thank you for your service to this great nation.