Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Madam Speaker, this week, Madam Speaker, the very last American doughboy, Mr. Frank Buckles, turned 108 years old.

Of the 4.7 million Americans that were mobilized during the First World War, Frank Buckles is the very last of his generation.

His remarkable life began in Bethany, Missouri where he was born in 1901, during the administration of the 25th President of the United States, President McKinley. At the tender age of 16, Mr. Buckles fibbed his way into the Army when he enlisted to fight in the First World War. He was rejected by several recruiters, but he was not deterred until he finally found a recruiter that would take him. He joined the United States Army, and he drove an ambulance in Europe during World War I.

Throughout his life, Mr. Buckles served in the First World War and was held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese for three years during World War Two.

At the incredible age of 108, Mr. Buckles has lived through 46 percent of our nation's history.

Today he resides on the family farm he purchased near Charles Town, West Virginia after the war.

Mr. Buckles is one of the forgotten veterans of a forgotten war. He is the lone survivor.

During WWI nearly 116,000 U.S. warriors gave their lives for this country. The service and sacrifice of those men and women changed the tide of that stalemate war and ensured victory for the Allies. But when they returned to the United States there were no parades or major memorials established to honor them.

Despite the fact that WWI was the first war to be fought on three continents and was the first industrialized conflict, it remains a largely forgotten war.

Today we have three memorials to the major wars in modern U.S. history on the National Mall: the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean Memorial, and the World War II Memorial, but no national memorial for WWI.

World War I should not be forgotten because there are few photographs and no blockbuster movies to tell the story.

That's why I introduced the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act. My bill would restore the District of Columbia's World War I Memorial and expand it to also serve as the location for a national World War I Memorial.

After 90 years, of no national recognition it's time these doughboys were given the thanks that they are due--after all they are the ``Father's of the greatest generation.''

Madam Speaker, it's time to honor the Lone Survivor of World War I and the other doughboys that went to war in the forgotten war to end all wars.

And that's just the way it is.