This is (mostly) a repost of last year's Veteran's Day. I should note that Frank Buckles is still alive and lobbying for a national WWI memorial in Washington D.C.
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 109 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.
This is one of my favorite Veterans Day photos of all time. It's also incredibly sad when you know the story behind it.
This was taken at the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982. The man shown is John Ambrose. He was 86 at the time and a WWI vet. The flag he is holding covered the casket of his son who had been killed in Korea. Not only are vets amazing people, but they often raise children who are patriotic and feel bound to serve their country.
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.
There are many vets in my life, chief among them James Bond and my dad, and I am grateful that I know such amazing people.