Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known American World War I Veteran was laid to rest yesterday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. With his passing, the country’s last personal connection to the 4,734,990 Americans who served during World War I now resides in Section 34 surrounded by his fellow Veterans.
Buckles—who had served in both France and Germany after enlisting in 1917—passed away on February 27, 2011 at his home in West Virginia at the age of 110.
In the late afternoon ceremony two weeks later, Army Corporal Frank Buckles was transported to Section 34 by a horse drawn caisson to be buried before his family and friends, members of Congress, fellow service members, Veterans, and the public. Young children dressed in military garb crouched under bushes to get one last look at Buckles’ flag-draped coffin; frail men and women stood graciously as the firing of volley shots rang through the crisp air; taps echoed throughout the cemetery as we all paid our respect to America’s last doughboy.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs salutes Buckles for his valor and service. As his passing marks the end of our Nation’s personal link to World War I, may we not forget the sacrifices he made and those who served alongside him. May he rest in peace.
I had the honor of capturing Frank Buckles being laid to rest. Below are photographs from yesterday’s graveside ceremony.