Sunday, February 1, 2009

Vets, family pay tribute for Frank Buckles’ birthday

Vets, family pay tribute for Frank Buckles’ birthday

By Jillian E. Kesner / Journal staff writer POSTED: February 1, 2009 Save | Print | Email | Read comments | Post a comment
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Article Photos
Frank Buckles is presented with an American flag at his home in Charles Town on Saturday. (Journal photo by Jillian E. Kesner)
CHARLES TOWN - Today, the oldest known surviving American veteran of World War I will celebrate his 108th birthday, and the outpouring of recognition he has received in the past year hasn't stopped.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, was recognized Saturday with a flag raising at his home in Charles Town by a group of military veterans from Michigan and Indiana.

The group of veterans, known as Lest We Forget, said there was one thing that seemed to have been overlooked as the nation continued to thank Buckles - a flagpole.

Group members said they wanted to provide him with a 25-foot flagpole which was placed on the grounds of his home on Friday and Saturday. The group presented him with two flags to hang; the current 50-star flag, designed by Bob Heft, and a Spirit of America flag, created by Dale Hempill, which honors veterans from the the Revolutionary War through Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dan Stice, director of the Veterans Service Office in St. Josephs, Mich., said he suggested the group travel to visit Buckles and give him the flags and a flagpole.

"Everyone said 'let's do it,'" Stice said.

From his library, which holds memorabilia from recognitions as well as family mementos, Buckles can see the new flagpole which stands in his front yard overlooking his farm.

"I appreciate it," Buckles said.

Buckles was also given a large poster-like birthday card which was signed by members of the House Senate and the Veterans Affairs Committee and included a signature from U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

One of the questions Buckles answered Saturday was how it feels to be turning 108-years-old.

"Turning 108 is no different than turning 100," he said.

Buckles gave advice on living a long life, saying that people should tell others what then plan to do and stick with it.

Heft, a former college professor, said that giving the flag to Buckles was something he wanted to do.

"Young people need to know the history of the flag," Heft said. "This is something that we just had to do and we're delighted to do."

- Staff writer Jillian E. Kesner can be reached at (304) 263-8931, ext. 215, or


Congratulations Mr Buckles, I wish my father had lived as long as you have my father served in the 7th Cavalry D Troop from 1914-1916 he was discharged before WW1 started. If he had lived he would be 109 on Feb 24.

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