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Lawmaker wants last WWI vet honored at Capitol

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A West Virginia congresswoman said she will seek a posthumous honor for Frank Buckles: She wants the body of the country’s last remaining World War I veteran to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol.

“Mr. Buckles represented the very best of this great country — service, determination and patriotism,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. “The last ‘doughboy,’ Frank will continue to inspire future generations as history will remember him as a humble and compassionate public servant.”

The Republican lawmaker said she will introduce a bill Monday to allow Mr. Buckle’s body lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda — the same honor bestowed presidents.

Mr. Buckles enlisted in the Army during World War I at 16 after lying about his age. He not only survived the conflict, he outlived his fellow soldiers to become the war’s last surviving U.S. veteran. He was 110 and a resident of Charles Town, W.V.

President Obama said he and first lady Michelle “were inspired by the service and life story.”

“We join (Mr. Buckle’s daughter) Susannah and all those who knew and loved her father in celebrating a remarkable life that reminds us of the true meaning of patriotism and our obligations to each other as Americans,” the president said.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, called Mr. Buckles “a unique American, a wonderfully plain-spoken man and an icon for the World War I generation.”

“His life was full and varied and an inspiration for his unbridled patriotism and enthusiasm for life,” he said.

During the “War to End all Wars” Mr. Buckles joined the Army Ambulance Service and went overseas to England and then France.

He was presented with the French Legion of Honor in 1999 at the French Embassy in Washington.

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