Memorial day: a WWI vet … yes… WWI

Biretta tip to the Cafeteria for this one:

The Last Doughboy


Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known living American-born veteran of World War I, was honored Sunday at the Liberty Memorial during Memorial Day weekend celebrations.

"I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn’t know I’d be the No. 1," the 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait.

His photograph was hung in the main hallway of the National World War I Museum, which he toured for the first time, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States presented him with a gold medal of merit.

On Monday, he will be presented the American flag flying outside the memorial.

Buckles, who now lives in Charles Town, W.Va., has been an invited guest at the Pentagon, met with President Bush in Washington, D.C., and rode in the annual Armed Forces Day Parade in his home state since his status as one of the last living from the "Great War" was discovered nearly two years ago.

His burial to be in Arlington
Federal officials have also arranged for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917.

He was rejected by the Marines and the Navy, but eventually persuaded an Army captain he was 18 and enlisted, convincing him Missouri didn’t keep public records of birth.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Franzjosf says:

    O valiant hearts who to your glory came
    through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
    tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
    your memory hallowed in the land you loved

    Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war
    as who had heard God’s message from afar;
    all you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,
    to save mankind — yourselves you scorned to save

    Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
    into the light that nevermore shall fade;
    deep your contentment in that blest abode,
    who wait the last clear trumpet-call of God.

    Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
    rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,
    while in the frailty of our human clay,
    Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self-same way.

    Still stands his Cross from that dread hour to this,
    like some bright star above the dark abyss;
    still, through the veil, the Victor’s pitying eyes
    look down to bless our lesser Calvaries.

    These were his servants, in his steps they trod,
    following through death the martyred Son of God:
    Victor, he rose; victorious too shall rise
    they who have drunk his cup of sacrifice.

    O risen Lord,O Shepherd of our dead,
    whose cross has bought them and whose staff has led,
    in glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land

  2. Father,

    Canada’s last WWI veteran is 107 year-old John Babcock of Spokane, Washington.
    He moved to the United States and had to renounce his Canadian citizenship to
    become an American. Since U.S. law now allows dual citizenship. He recently
    wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to become a Canadian again so that his
    “circle of life” would be completed as a Canadian. His citizenship was just
    restored to him on May 8.

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders Fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders Fields.

    Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
    Canadian Army

  3. Rachel says:

    “I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn’t know I’d be the No. 1,” the 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait.

    Interesting, maybe we novices in this valley of tears have a thing or two to learn from valiant and perservering hearts like his.

  4. David2 says:

    I always tear-up on ANZAC day when I hear “O Valiant Hearts” and “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”. The “Skye-boat song and “Flowers of the Forest” have a similar effect. One of dad’s uncles was on the Somme, and lived to tell the story….

  5. Anyone who tries out with the USMC before all others can’t be all bad! But, in the end, it’s not a competition between the branches of the Military. “Rejection” might be better phrased as “Redirected” to where his own talents would shine more brightly. God bless you, Frank.

  6. Peter says:

    It is not precisely on the theme, but related nonetheless.

    Please pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop John Aloysius Morgan who died in Canberra, Australia last Wednesday 21 May. Bp Morgan was 98 and the fifth oldest bishop in the world.

    He was an army chaplain during WWII, serving in New Guinea. He was the inaugural bishop of Australia’s military vicariate. He also assisted with the provision of the EF in Canberra for a number of years.

    His Requiem Mass will be celebrated Thursday 29 May at the chapel of Roayl Military College, Duntroon, followed by interment in the crypt of St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra.

    There will also be a solemn requiem offered for him on Wednesday evening 28 May by the FSSP apostolate in Canberra.

    Requiescat in pace.


  7. Franzjosf says:

    Here’s the last line, that I somwhow omitted:

    commits here children to thy gracious hand.

    David2: I’m the same way. And here is an interesting story about O Valiant Hearts.

    One evening last year I was practicing it on the school chapel organ, with the windows open, in preparation for our Memorial Day observance. In walked a 17-year-old student from Korea, who had never heard of the piece, with tears in his eyes and said he could hear the struggle and “see them falling.” (And he didn’t know the text.) I shall never forget that. Blew me away. There is something stirring in those chords that captures the text.

  8. david2 says:

    Another interesting story… A couple of elections ago, John Schumann, who wrote “I was only 19” – a song criticizing the memorialization of the dead. stood against the Hon Alexander Downer (The then, Foreign Minister in Australia). Mr Downer won, in a close race, but got criticized for calling Schumann “a silly old aging sixties strummer”. I laughed and I laughed when I heard that!

    Interestingly, on April 25th, you’ll see huge numbers of young folks at Galipoli, draped in Aussie flags. Kinda like the young families we see at Extraordinary Form Masses, rejecting the tree-hugging hippie crap.

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