Join me in belatedly saying "Thank you" to Frank Buckles.
Cpl. Buckles was the last surviving American veteran of World War I when he died in his West Virginia home on Feb. 27, 2011. He was 110 years old. At the time of his death, there were only two other confirmed WWI veterans alive in the world, both of them British.
Buckles was an American hero. The teenage corporal was an Army ambulance driver in Europe during the "Great War" which ended with an armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
After the war, he began a career as a merchant ship captain. It was interrupted in World War II when he was captured by the Japanese and held prisoner of war for more than three years.
He's buried in Arlington National Cemetery with other American heroes.
I gratefully and respectfully salute Frank and all men and women who have served their country in the armed forces.
Veterans Day began as "Armistice Day," which was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919, to honor those who served in World War I.
In 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to "Veterans Day," and officially broadened its scope to honor all Americans who have worn the uniform.
Just for the record:
About 4,272,500 Americans served in World War I, including 204,000 who were wounded and more than 116,000 who died in the combat zone.
To all of them:
Requiescat in pace.