Monday, May 26, 2008

U.S. salutes last WWI vet

U.S. salutes last WWI vet

By Bill Hutchinson
Daily News Staff Writer

Monday, May 26th 2008, 4:00 AM

America honored its last soldier standing from World War I Sunday, presenting 107-year-old Frank Buckles with a gold medal at a Memorial Day celebration in Missouri.

Buckles, of Charles Town, W.Va., was on hand at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City to accept accolades for his service during the Great War.

"I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn't know I'd be the No. 1," the silver-haired veteran said.

Buckles was presented a gold medal of merit from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and his portrait was unveiled in the museum's main hall.

The Veterans Affairs Department has confirmed that of the 4.7 million Americans who fought in World War I, Buckles is the last survivor.

Buckles was only 16 when he signed up for the Army in 1917, convincing a recruiter he was five years older.

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