- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Washington Times had a report on Oct. 10 about a ceremony at the French Embassy in the District (“Last Doughboy,” Embassy Row, World). The Legion d’honneur was awarded to a 107-year-old man, the last surviving American veteran of World War I. He was identified only as Frank Woodruff Buckles, who married after the war and “settled on a farm in West Virginia, where he still lives.”

Inspired by this, I wrote a poem dedicated to him and all the Yanks who went “over there” in 1918. …

The last Union veteran died in 1956, the last Confederate in 1959, the last Spanish War vet in 1972. Aside from reports of their deaths, I don’t recall any poems or tributes to them in print. I think it’s the least we can do to honor them.

Physical problems precluded me from being a veteran, but my love for them and my country is very strong.

La Plata, Md


I read the news, today, by chance,
A medal from the State of France,
A grateful nation’s grateful thanks
To one old man, one of the “Yanks.”

That host which crossed a surly sea,
Deigned to save sweet Liberty.
Legion d’honneur pinned on his vest,
The last to live, gone are the rest.

Who rose to answer country’s call,
Americans — brave, strong and tall.
Flushed with pride, America’s might,
Certain the fight was just and right.

In nineteen eighteen, long ago,
Stood up and charged their German foe.
In Ardenne’s Wood they let their blood,
Fierce valor stemmed the Teuton flood.

Conquered the trench, the gas, the wire,
Many were scythed by Devil’s fire.
In Flanders Land, the bells still ring,
And people there still stand to sing

Of brave men from beyond sun’s set,
Who fought with Honor, duty met.
Special breed, served heritage well,
Alone he’s left, he waits his knell.

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