Farewell to a soldier… and a generation

Buckles testified before a Senate committee in 2009, pressing legislators for a national World War I monument.

America said goodbye Tuesday to Frank Buckles, the last-surviving U.S. soldier from World War I.

Outside Washington, President Obama and Vice President Biden paid their respects at Arlington National Cemetery before the former corporal was carried to his grave and laid to rest with the traditional honors: The bugle call “Taps” and a volley of rifle fire.

Here in Hawai’i, U.S. and state flags flew at half-staff in honor of the last doughboy – and in honor of all the brave soldiers, sailors and airmen with whom he served.

Buckles died last month at his home in Charles Town, W.Va., at the age of 110. At 16, he lied about his age to enlist in the Army. He served as an ambulance driver in France.

Frank Buckles in World War I

Frank Buckles in World War I

The Friends of the Natatorium join Americans everywhere in honoring Buckles and the generation of America’s defenders that he represented to the last.

Now that he is gone, we have only memories and the places where we enshrine them. Places, of course, like the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial. It is Hawaii’s official monument to the 101 from the then-territory who died in the Great War and the more than 10,000 Hawai’i residents who served beside them.

Let us always honor them. Let us never forget them.

Aloha and mahalo, Frank Buckles. Well done.

Categories: History, Uncategorized, and Veterans.