According to the National Journal, Speaker of the House John Boehner has nixed plans for Frank Buckle’s body to lie in state under the Capitol Rotunda to honor and memorialize this last U.S. veteran of World War I who died early last Sunday (Feb 27) at age 110. Mr. Buckles was the last living link with the service and sacrifice of nearly five million American Veterans who served during World War I and helped the U.S. come of age as a world power during the 20th century. They fought for freedom and country, not for money or glory, and returned to a nation that offered little in the way of veterans’ benefits. Is it too much to pay them their due by honoring and memorializing Mr. Buckles at our nation’s Capitol? I know America’s veterans don’t think so and you can let Speaker Boehner know that by emailing him.
The White House ordered the Army to provide Mr. Buckles a burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery (now scheduled for March 15) but the Buckles family points out that the cemetery cannot handle the volume of visitors who want to honor Buckles in person. Veterans organizations, schools, war re-enactors and thousands of others have deluged the Buckles family with requests to attend services for the nation’s last Doughboy and the Capitol Rotunda is the right place for that to happen.
Chris Scheer is a U.S. Air Force Veteran. He retired from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in December.