A few months ago I saw a story on the news about the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I. He was in DC asking for a permanent memorial for the first world war, and I found it odd that there wasn't one yet even though I had seen every other memorial and just hadn't noticed there wasn't one. That same story also showed a government official from Kansas City talk about how there already is a national memorial dedicated to the war and it is in KC. Noting against KC but it belongs in DC with all the others and today of all days reminded me of this story.
Today I saw that Frank Buckles, the same man that was asking to have a permanent memorial, died yesterday at the age of 110. He was raised in Oklahoma and was only 16 when he lied about his age to join the fight in the 1917. I wish he could have lived to see a memorial in honor of his sacrifices, and the countless others who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Hopefully one day this will come true and people can go learn about what happened in those days.
My first thought about Mr. Buckle's passing was sadness for his family and then it was that we have lost that final link. If we haven't captured the stories yet we never will and now we can't go back. Every soldier involved in that history of our nation is gone. I just hope in the final years of Mr. Buckle's life he was able to share his stories so they may be passed along for years to come.
Even more amazing is what he lived through in his lifetime and since I like looking up facts on the internet here are things that happened in his lifetime.
Frank Buckles was born on Feb. 1, 1901
The First Radio Transmission - 1901
The Wright Brothers First Flight on 1903
Oklahoma becomes a state 1907
World War I 1914-1918
Babe Ruth's Career 1914-1935
The Great Depression 1930s
World War II 1939-1945
The First TV Broadcast - 1925
Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" - 1963
The Internet - 1969 (Thanks Al Gore)
Walking on the Moon - 1969
The Cosby Show 1984-1992
The First African American President 2008
Of course there are plenty of things that could be on that list but 110 years is a long time to live and the changes that have occurred are incredible. Hell, he was 80 years old when I was born in 1981. I hope I can reach my goal of living to be 108 and maybe I will have done something with my life that is .5% as important as what Mr. Buckles did and then some punky, music snob kid will write a blog about me.
Who am I kidding? There is no chance of that happening.