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This Day In History: The Last Surviving Veteran Of World War I Is Buried At Arlington National Cemetery

March 15, 2017

This day in history, March 15, 2011, the last surviving veteran of World War I is buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Frank Woodruff Buckles was a United States Army soldier and the last surviving American veteran of World War I. Buckles passed away at the age of 110 on February 27, 2011.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 and served with a detachment from Fort Riley, driving ambulances and motorcycles near the front lines in Europe. During World War II, he was captured by Japanese forces while working in the shipping business, and spent three years in the Philippines as a civilian prisoner.

After the war, Buckles married in San Francisco and moved to Gap View Farm near Charles Town, West Virginia. A widower at age 98, he worked on his farm until the age of 105. In his final years, he served as Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation. As chairman, he advocated the establishment of a World War I memorial similar to other war memorials in Washington, D.C.

Buckles also campaigned for the District of Columbia War Memorial to be renamed the National World War I Memorial. He testified before Congress in support of this cause, and met with President George W. Bush at the White House. Buckles was awarded the World War I Victory Medal at the conclusion of that conflict, and the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal retroactively following the medal’s creation in 1941, as well as the French Legion of Honor in 1999.