Don't let Corporal Frank Buckles die without a National World War I Memorial

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Last U.S. Vet of WWI Christmas WISH LIST: National Memorial In D.C.: LET US ALL GIVE HIM AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Another Action Item Veterans and ALL Call

By Denise Nichols

Many of us Veterans that go to DC have seen this memorial and for years have talked of the need to DO Better.  Time for all of us to hit the phone lines, Email, and Faxes! An excellent use of the new social network of facebook!  Support Page  http://www.facebook.com/#/group.php?gid=33974746413 Let us see if we can get this for Corporal Buckles’s Christmas, let’s make it a done deal! CALL Your US Senator and Rep in DC and let them know not to leave DC until this Bill is signed by the President!!!

Buckles, born in 1901, talked his way into the Army at age 16. He drove ambulances and motorcycles and helped return prisoners of war to Germany after the armistice. Years later, he was working as a civilian for an American shipping company when he was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. He spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps in Santo Tomas and Los Banos, and he was rescued on Feb. 23, 1945.

     

Buckles serves as the honorary chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that would raise private funding to support the national memorial. The foundation would make repairs and improvements to the existing structure, in dense woods not far from the fresh and elaborate World War II memorial — is hard to find, even in the dead of winter, when Buckles last visited.  The memorial sits in a park in a grove of trees between Independence Avenue and the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. 

Support of Senate Bill 2097 – the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act – a bill to dedicate a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American WWI veterans. The bill would rename an existing structure, the District of Columbia War Memorial, which was dedicated in 1931 to D.C. residents who gave their lives in the Great War. 

It matters not what your political leanings are…the very last surviving World War I veteran is 107 years old. Unfortunately he and all the other veterans, no longer with us, from what was then known as the Great War have no National Memorial. Frank Buckles must know there is not much time for him to honor the memory of his comrades who served the United States during the first World War. He is hoping to turn a run-down local memorial on the National Mall into something in keeping with other, permanent monuments to Americans who’ve sacrificed in other wars.

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He has joined a crusade to establish the site as a national memorial, which includes a legislative push from Texas Republican congressman Ted Poe. Also pushing the overhaul and upgrade are the D.C. Preservation League and the World War I Memorial Foundation. Frank deserves to know that he was not forgotten. Please invite all of your friends to join this group, and then contact your local congressman or woman by going to www.House.gov. Ask your representative to join Texas Republican Ted Poe in his support for a National Memorial for the veterans of World War I.

Don’t let Corporal Frank Buckles die without a National World War I MemorialCategory:Common Interest – HistoryDescription:It matters not what your political leanings are…the very last surviving World War I veteran is 107 years old. Unfortunately he and all the other veterans, no longer with us, from what was then known as the Great War have no National Memorial. Frank Buckles must know there is not much time for him to honor the memory of his comrades who served the United States during the first World War.

He is hoping to turn a run-down local memorial on the National Mall into something in keeping with other, permanent monuments to Americans who’ve sacrificed in other wars. He has joined a crusade to establish the site as a national memorial, which includes a legislative push from Texas Republican congressman Ted Poe. Also pushing the overhaul and upgrade are the D.C. Preservation League and the World War I Memorial Foundation. Frank deserves to know that he was not forgotten. Please invite all of your friends to join this group, and then contact your local congressman or woman by going to www.House.gov. Ask your representative to join Texas Republican Ted Poe in his support for a National Memorial for the veterans of World War I. (read less)

It matters not what your political leanings are…the very last surviving World War I veteran is 107 years old. Unfortunately he and all the other veterans, no longer with us, from what was then known as the Great War have no National Memorial. Frank Buckles must know there is not much time for him to honor the memory of his comrades who served the United States during the first World War.

Fact Box
Senate Bill 2097 Text

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

To authorize the rededication of the District of Columbia War Memorial as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American veterans of World War I.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 29, 2009

Mr. THUNE (for himself, Mr. WEBB, and Mr. ROCKEFELLER) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

A BILL

To authorize the rededication of the District of Columbia War Memorial as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American veterans of World War I.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) In 2017, the United States will commemorate the centennial of its entry into World War I, which introduced the American soldier to the world in what would become a familiar role as defender, liberator, and promoter of peace and democracy.

(2) The support provided by the United States to Great Britain, France, and other allies in World War I marked the first time in the history of the United States that American soldiers went overseas to defend foreign soil against aggression, and it marked the true beginning of ‘the American century’.

(3) Although World War I was called the ‘Great War’ and the ‘War to End All Wars’, in fact, the United States would commit its troops to the defense of foreign lands several more times in the 20th century.

(4) While three of these subsequent conflicts, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, rightfully have commemorative memorials on the National Mall in the District of Columbia, there is no memorial to World War I on the Mall, even though more Americans gave their lives in World War I than in either the Korean War or the Vietnam War.

(5) While a memorial to General John Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces that he led during World War I is located in the District of Columbia, that memorial is not located on the Mall and does not commemorate the total participation of the United States and its Armed Forces in World War I.

(6) The District of Columbia War Memorial is located on the Mall, adjacent to the Lincoln Reflecting Pool between the World War II and Korean War memorials, and was erected in memory of the 499 residents of the District of Columbia who died in World War I.

(7) The District of Columbia War Memorial is in extreme disrepair and is often overlooked by residents and visitors to Washington.

(8) In recognition of the upcoming anniversaries of America’s entry into World War I, and of the armistice that concluded World War I on November 11, 1918, and in order to honor the members of the United States Armed Forces who served in World War I and to ensure that future generations of Americans will know the complete history of America’s 20th-century struggle against aggression and totalitarianism, it is timely and proper to rededicate the site of the District of Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall as a ‘National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial’.

(9) Because this Act authorizes the rededication and related enhancement of a commemorative work that already exists, and that is already sited within the Reserve as defined in Commemorative Works Act, the provisions of the Commemorative Works Act regarding site approval and location of commemorative works do not apply to this Act.

SEC. 3. AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH COMMEMORATIVE WORK.

The World War I Memorial Foundation is authorized to establish a commemorative work rededicating the District of Columbia War Memorial as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial, including–

(1) full restoration of the existing District of Columbia War Memorial; and

(2) the addition of an appropriate sculptural or other commemorative element, which shall complement and preserve the existing memorial and its landscape, at the site of the existing memorial to make it a national memorial.

SEC. 4. COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARDS FOR COMMEMORATIVE WORKS; LOCATION OF MEMORIAL.

(a) In General- Except as provided by subsection (b), the rededication of the District of Columbia War Memorial shall be in accordance with chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code (popularly known as the Commemorative Works Act).

(b) Exception- Sections 8908 and 8905 of title 40, United States Code shall not apply to this Act.

SEC. 5. PRIVATE CONTRIBUTIONS.

The Foundation shall solicit and accept private contributions for the memorial.

SEC. 6. DEPOSIT OF EXCESS FUNDS.

If, upon payment of all expenses of the rededication (including the maintenance and preservation amount provided for in chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code, or upon expiration of the authority for the commemorative work under such chapter), there remains a balance of funds received for the establishment of the commemorative work, the World War I Memorial Foundation shall transmit the amount of the balance to the Secretary of the Treasury for deposit in the account provided for in section 8906(b) of title 40, United States Code.
Article Links
» Web Telecast of Testimony on WWI Monument

 

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Email:Website:http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp-stories…Recent News News:From Paul Courson
CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — At 107, Frank Buckles must know there is not much time for him to honor the memory of his comrades who served the United States during the first World War. He’s the last surviving U.S. veteran of what then was called the Great War.

Frank Buckles is 107 years old and the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I.
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The old soldier comes to Washington Tuesday hoping to turn a run-down local memorial on the National Mall into something in keeping with other, permanent monuments to Americans who’ve sacrificed in other wars.

Buckles, who left the Army as a corporal, first visited the site back in March. "I think it was a very nice idea," he said from his wheelchair, after he and an aide had toured the gazebo-styled structure.

Buckles noted that the memorial is not national but was built primarily to honor about 500 veterans from the District of Columbia.

"I can read here that it was started to include the names of those who were local," Buckles said.

He has since joined a crusade to establish the site as a national memorial, which includes a legislative push from Texas Republican congressman Ted Poe. He and Buckles plan to announce details of their mission at a 2 p.m. news conference held at the D.C. memorial site.

Also pushing the overhaul and upgrade are the D.C. Preservation League and the World War I Memorial Foundation.

The site of the current monument — in dense woods not far from the fresh and elaborate World War II memorial — is hard to find, even in the dead of winter, when Buckles last visited.

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"We just saw it through the trees," tourist Regina Duffy told CNN back in March. "I was surprised when we got over here that it was a World War I memorial because I thought it would be more prominent."

With summer foliage fully in bloom, the city’s monument is almost completely obscured.

Zeke Musa of Florida said it "looks like it’s been neglected."

"If you just look at the walks here, all the stones are broken and everything. These guys served their country, you know? It’s a shame," said Musa, a Vietnam veteran.

According to an autobiography released earlier this year by the Pentagon, Buckles was eager to join the war. Although only 16 in the summer of 1917, he lied about his age to get into the armed services.

He said his recruiter told him "the Ambulance Service was the quickest way to get to France," so he took training in trench casualty retrieval.

Buckles eventually was an officer’s escort in France before joining a detail transporting German prisoners of war.

He now lives on his family’s cattle farm near Charles Town, West Virginia.

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Last U.S. vet of WWI wants national memorial in D.C. 
Posted 6d 12h ago | Comments 248  | |   
 
  
  By David DeJonge
 
Frank Buckles, at the World War I memorial for D.C. residents in Washington in 2008, wants to see a memorial to his fellow soldiers on the National Mall.  

By Andrew M. Seaman, USA TODAY
Frank Buckles, 108 years old, figures he has one more contribution to make.
Buckles, the last U.S. veteran of World War I, wants to see a memorial to his fellow soldiers on the National Mall. To make the case, he is scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing today.

He will be there on behalf of a bill that would redesignate the existing District of Columbia World War I memorial — a modest structure not far from the massive World War II memorial that opened in 2004 — to make it a combined D.C. and national memorial.

Buckles of Charles Town, W.Va., is honorary chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation. The bill is named for him. "The main thing he has done is lend his name and his voice to this movement to have some kind of representation of the veterans of World War I on our National Mall," says his daughter, Susannah Flanagan.

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David DeJonge, president of the foundation, says Buckles was disheartened to see the condition of the D.C. memorial on his first visit in 2008. It was built in 1931 not far from the Lincoln Memorial to honor local men who died in the war. The temple-like structure has been on the D.C. Preservation League’s list of Most Endangered Places twice since 2003, Executive Director Rebecca Miller says.

"It was just a forgotten memorial," she says. "It was not on any maps. There is no signage for it. It’s not lit. There was, at one point, a tree growing out of the dome."

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is sponsoring the Senate legislation, a companion to a House bill.

"That was the Great War, the ‘war to end all wars,’ " Thune says, "and lots of Americans who served and sacrificed need to be duly recognized."

The legislation would allow the foundation to add a sculpture to the site and raise money for its preservation. The National Park Service has allocated $10 million to restore the memorial.

There is a hitch, though. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., wants her state’s Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City to be the official national World War I memorial. She has introduced legislation, too.

"We’re really hoping to have people understand what an important asset this museum and the memorial are for the whole country," says Denise Rendina, spokeswoman for the museum. The 217-foot-high Liberty Memorial, opened in 1926, was designated a national symbol of the war by Congress in 2000. Brian Alexander, president and CEO, is scheduled to testify today.

Buckles seeks dedication of national WWI memorial
108-year-old joins Rockefeller on Capitol Hill

By Beth Henry, Journal city editor
POSTED: December 4, 2009 

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Article Links
» Web Telecast of Testimony on WWI Monument
 WASHINGTON – On Nov. 11, 1918, Frank Woodruff Buckles was one of more than 4 million American soldiers who was relieved to hear that the first world war was over.

In the nine decades since then, Buckles, 108, has seen national memorials dedicated for World War II, Vietnam and other 20th century wars and conflicts – but World War I has been left out.support of Senate Bill 2097 – the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act – a bill to dedicate a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American WWI veterans. The bill would rename an existing structure, the District of Columbia War Memorial, which was dedicated in 1931 to D.C. residents who gave their lives in the Great War.support of Senate Bill 2097 – the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act – a bill to dedicate a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American WWI veterans. The bill would rename an existing structure, the District of Columbia War Memorial, which was dedicated in 1931 to D.C. residents who gave their lives in the Great War.

The Jefferson County resident joined U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and other senators Thursday on Capitol Hill to make a push for dedicating a national World War I memorial in Washington, D.C.

They spoke during a hearing in support of Senate Bill 2097 – the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act – a bill to dedicate a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial to honor the sacrifices made by American WWI veterans. The bill would rename an existing structure, the District of Columbia War Memorial, which was dedicated in 1931 to D.C. residents who gave their lives in the Great War.

"I think it’s an excellent idea," Buckles said Thursday at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources Subcommittee on National Parks.

Buckles serves as the honorary chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that would raise private funding to support the national memorial. The foundation would make repairs and improvements to the existing structure, which sits in a park in a grove of trees between Independence Avenue and the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

Rockefeller and other supporters said the bill would not require any taxpayer dollars because the World War I Memorial Foundation would raise the necessary funding.

"I strongly believe that our nation owes a tremendous debt and should pay tribute to the more than 4.3 million Americans who, like Frank Buckles, answered the call of duty and served in the first Great War from 1914 to 1918," Rockefeller said in his testimony. "It is time to complete the history of the 20th century on our national mall. …"

Rockefeller is an original co-sponsor of the bill. Eight other senators are co-sponsors, including Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.

In a phone interview after the hearing, Rockefeller said the experience was "absolutely magnificent." He said the room was filled with so many political leaders and pages who lined up to meet Buckles that the afternoon hearing was delayed slightly.

"He’s the last standing soldier of World War I, but he’s not just that … he’s an extraordinary man," Rockefeller said, pointing out that Buckles has a passion for reading history and once was fluent in several languages.

The senator added that he hopes the legislation will gather more support and pass quickly, so that Buckles will be able to see it happen.

"It’s just something that I think would be a dream for Frank and his family, and the families of all World War I veterans," he said.

Rockefeller noted that the legislation has competition: Missouri lawmakers are promoting a measure that has passed the House that would designate Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., as the National World War I Memorial.

Gen. John Pershing and four Allied military leaders attended the dedication of that 217-foot structure in 1921, and Missouri representatives spoke on behalf of their own bill Thursday during the subcommittee hearing.

Rockefeller said he and the other supporters of the national WWI memorial in Washington hope to work with Missouri representatives to reach a compromise.

Buckles, who has lived on a farm in West Virginia since the 1950s, was actually born in Missouri – and even met Pershing once.

Buckles, born in 1901, talked his way into the Army at age 16. He drove ambulances and motorcycles and helped return prisoners of war to Germany after the armistice. Years later, he was working as a civilian for an American shipping company when he was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. He spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps in Santo Tomas and Los Banos, and he was rescued on Feb. 23, 1945.

His daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan, and her husband live with him on his farm near Charles Town. She said her father, who uses a wheelchair, now has difficulty hearing but still enjoys reading and exercise every day.

She said in an interview last month that she was grateful to the many individuals both in high-ranking government roles and those in the general public who have expressed interest and concern that there is no World War I memorial in Washington.

"Just abut every single person has some connection to World War I from family connections, no matter where they’re from in the world, so this is something to honor the warriors and those people who bravely fought, stood up and answered the call," she said.

– City Editor Beth Henry can be reached at (304) 263-8931, ext. 129 or [email protected]

Washington (CNN) — At 108 years old, Cpl. Frank Buckles said Thursday he hopes he lives to see the day when there’s a memorial on the National Mall honoring all Americans who fought in World War I.

Buckles, the last surviving U.S. veteran of the war that ended in 1918, came to Capitol Hill in support of legislation to pay tribute to his comrades.

Lawmakers are considering whether to help fund a national rededication of an old city monument already on the Mall or to forgo such support in favor of a monument project under way in Kansas City, Missouri.

Last year, Buckles visited the District of Columbia’s World War I Memorial. In his wheelchair and bundled against the cold, he slowly toured the overgrown site and noted the names engraved along the gazebo’s marble walls are only of those who hailed from the District of Columbia.

He also saw the rundown condition of the 1930s monument and became determined to symbolically lead a drive to restore the structure and support making it a national memorial.

Lawmakers on Thursday, after noting the move to put a site in Kansas City, gave the old Army "doughboy" his chance to say why the nation’s capital would be the better location.

"The memorial [on the Mall], it’s an excellent idea!" he told lawmakers.

When he visited the District of Columbia memorial a year ago, Buckles said he did not expect to become the last man standing, the one left to represent Americans those who fought in World War I.

"I have to," he told CNN, "because I’m the last living member of Americans" who fought in what at the time was called The Great War.

Buckles was brought to Capitol Hill for his testimony from his family’s farm in West Virginia, and he met with senators and well-wishers before the hearing.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a Republican born in 1961, laughed when a reporter pointed out he is 60 years younger than Buckles, born in 1901. Thune is sponsoring the Senate bill that would make the Washington site the "official" World War I memorial.

Lawmakers will have to square that with a bill from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who is pushing that designation for the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.

 

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