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CNN: Last U.S. veteran of World War I turns 109


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Last U.S. veteran of World War I turns 109

Washington (CNN) -- The last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, former Cpl. Frank Buckles, turns 109 on Monday and is still hoping for a national memorial in Washington for his comrades.

Buckles is expected to deliver remarks during a quiet celebration Monday afternoon at his home in Charles Town, West Virginia.

But the old "Doughboy" -- as World War I American infantry troops were called -- has already been outspoken in recent years, urging congressional lawmakers to give federal recognition and a facelift to a run-down District of Columbia memorial in an overgrown, wooded area along the National Mall.

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Okay, we really need a WW1 memorial. I don't get it.

That war was hell. I couldn't imagine the horror of trench warfare and mustard gas.

It amazes me how misunderstated and undertaught WWI is in this country. WWII gets romantized to no end and 'The War to End All Wars' gets a half a day mention in high school history classes. If I remember correctly, we lost more men per day in WWI than any other war in history.

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I wonder how he would feel about having to shower with the gays?

All of them?

Or did you mean "shower with the gays who no longer have to hide their sexual orientation, as opposed to the days of Don't Ask Don't Tell when they were still every bit as gay but couldn't tell anyone about it?"

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We all owe a debt of gratitude to him and his commrades that have gone on.I really hope his wish for a memorial for his WW1 breathern happens before he passes,though the odds are great against that becoming a reality.It's unbelievable that he still has the faculties to be able to stand before people and speak his mind at his age,an amazing man!

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Wow. Well anyway, you might enjoy this video of a WWII vet speaking out for gay marriage:

I know it's outdated at this point, but thanks for posting that. I hadn't seen it before. Got a little choked up thinking about my own grandpa (who also fought in WWII). It's a great video. I can understand why it got so many views.

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Looks like a few people are not aware of the 200+ post thread here on the front page. Sorry for offending your sensibilities. That is quite a life for this gentlemen to live.

:rubeyes:

Did I miss something here?

Yes, you did.

is this what you think about in your free time?

No, it's not.

All of them?

Or did you mean "shower with the gays who no longer have to hide their sexual orientation, as opposed to the days of Don't Ask Don't Tell when they were still every bit as gay but couldn't tell anyone about it?"

Did I miss something? Or do you mean this in the same spirit as those detainees that are no longer being held in Guantanamo before the President closed it down and those people that didn't have health care before Obama reformed it?

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That's enough thread hijacking. Why do it in a thread honoring a guy who served in WW-I? Poor judgement there, IMO.

--

I've visited the WW I memorial on the Mall. It's a memorial to DC WW I vets, so despite its location, it is not a national memorial.

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I don't feel like WWI is taught well enough at any level in this country. And there certainly are not enough histories written about it. There are more books on World War II released every month probably than there are total World War I books in your local Barnes and Noble.

More than any event, it created the modern map of Europe. It led directly to World War II. It led directly to the ideological battles that consumed the 20th centurary - Socialism, Communism, and Nationalism. It led to what could be considered the last great world-wide plague. It created all the issues that have consumed the Middle East for the past century. And it more or less created the idea of an independent Canada and Australia.

It did all that as an utterly misguided, unnecessary, and horribly fought war.

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I think there are a few reasons WWI is not taught much.

For starters- it didn't decide anything. All it really was in the end was the first act of a two act play.

Also, it was never really our war. It was a European war that we participated in.

I would imagine that the American Revolution gets about the same coverage in French schools. (though I realize our involvement was greater than theirs, but I think the comparison works).

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Something that has always fascinated me about WWI hits me when I read about the soldier in the OP, from West Virginia. Or when I go up into the Smokies and see the old family cemetaries from the 19th and early 20th centuries... and stumble across a WWI grave.

I mean, imagine being born in Appalachia in 1895. All you know is the wood shack you call home and the small patch of land that you grow potatoes (or whatever else) on. You most likely can't read or write - so even if you did have access to a newspaper it wouldn't do you any good.

Then, one day, Uncle Sam comes calling and pulls you out of there and you are put on a boat to land in France and try and kill some German guy because European Royalty can't play nice. Then, you're killed, shipped back home, returned to your family, where you're buried next to the potatoes.

That just blows my mind. I would imagine the shock of seeing the ocean and technology and a foreign country probably was insurmountable- and then they give them a gun and ask them to kill Germans. They probably didn't even know what a German was.

....

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