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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The last survivors

Sixteen year old Frank Buckles enlisted as an ambulance driver in the Army. The year was 1917. He sailed to France in late 1917 on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued survivors from the Titanic in 1912. He was just 17 and still serving in France on Nov 11,1918 when the Armistice went into effect. Today he is 108 and the last American Survivor of World War I. He is one of 3 verified vets of WWI in the entire world. Time is not on Frank Buckles side. When he is gone, an entire generation will be lost forever.
It is estimated that of the 16 million Americans who served during WWII, less that 3 million are still alive today. Their stories are dying along with them.

The Korean vets are of an age with the WWII vets. Some of them were WWII vets.

The spunky, misunderstood, often angry, Vietnam Vets are now grandfathers.

One day, the young men and women serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be old and have only stories and memories.

If you know a Vet, your father, grandfather, mother, uncle, sister, whoever, talk to them. Ask them to tell you what they remember. Tell them you're grateful for their service and sacrifice. Honor those who came back. Remember those who didn't. Never, ever, ever forget.


Karrie said...

Such a heartfelt post! I loved it thank you for sharing. I would love for you to visit my blog if you have a chance.
Happy Veterans Day

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Wonderful post! I liked reading the story of Frank Buckles. It is so sad to see our history slipping away. My dad's father is a WW2 and Korean War vet. He doesn't really like to talk to us about his experiences, but I wish he would.


I wish I could ask my grandpa about his experience in the Navy, but unfortunately he's in the advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease and can't communicate very well - not to mention that he's losing his memory as well.

I'm intrigued by all those stories that older people have about their lives, war related or not. Great post. :)

satakieli said...

My grandfather on my mother's side was in the British army during WWII, sadly he died when I was 9 of heart failure so we never really got to ask him about it. My dad said he didn't really talk about it much but he had some medals.

My other grandfather was never conscripted because he worked for the railway.

I like hearing all the stories. Have you seen the film "Un long dimanche de fiançailles" (A Very Long Engagement)? Set during WWI. Have tissues ready. I made the mistake of watching it while DH was deployed.

Clare said...

Lovely post. You should read mine today, talking of my Grandfather. He hardly ever spoke about his experience and I was always told by my parents that Grandad didnlt like to talk about it. I wonder if that was true and if I had asked more he would have told me.

Emily said...

You are so right. remembering those time and the true cost of our freedom is so important. What a wonderful post.

Randa said...

What a thoughtful, heartfelt post! Bravo!

My grandfather (I lived with him and my grandmother until I was 12) was a Korean War vet. He was in the Army and the only person he would discuss his experiences with was his son.

There are two memories I have regarding his experiences in the war and how they affected our family. One is wonderful and one is not so great but they are both worth telling. You inspired me to relive those memories in a post of my own. It may be a day late but in our family, everyday is Veterans Day.

I wanted to thank you for this post because it has been a long time since I've relished in the positive memory of the experience that was just between me and my beloved grand-dad. You inspired me to write in his honor and memory...

I thank your husband and your family for the sacrifice and service you bestow upon our great country!

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