Goodbye to the Last Doughboy

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On March 15, 2011, Army Cpl. Frank Woodruff Buckles was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, the last surviving American World War I veteran. He joins Albert Woolson (d. 1956), the last Union Civil War veteran, and Lemuel Cook (d. 1866), the last official veteran of the Revolutionary War, whose deaths signaled a major turning point in our history.

A 16-year-old Buckles lied his way into the Army in August 1917, claiming that Missouri didn’t publish birth records. He served most of the war in France, driving ambulances and later escorting German prisoners of war. In 1941 he happened to be in Manila on business when the Japanese invaded; he then spent more than three years in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Buried with full honors, Corporal Buckles now lies 50 yards from Gen. John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during the war. The Great War is now—officially—history.