The Last Doughboy: A Tribute to Corporal Frank Buckles (1901-2011)
|March 15, 2011||Filled under CLC Multimedia Spotlight, Features, History, R3publicans||
“David, you have a duty to live. I have a duty to live. There are so many people we need to outlive.”
-Corporal Frank Buckles
Corporal Frank Buckles died after completing all of his duties to his country at 110 years and 26 days. I had the distinct privilege to become part of this wonderful American soldier’s life after he called me up one July morning in 2007. The call went something like this:
David: Good morning! This is David Hall. How may I help you?
Frank: Hello, this is Frank Buckles. I’m a WWI veteran. It is a fine thing you are doing with the Liberty Bell, sir. I-
David: (interrupting) Thank you.
Frank: I would like to stand with you. Well, I need to go. Thank you for what you are doing for our troops. (Click.)
I googled Frank Buckles and there he was – WWI army corporal, one of four Americans still living. I excitely went to the kitchen to tell my wife, Phyllis, the news. I had talked with an American icon.
Later that day, Phyllis received another phone call:
Susan: Hello, my name is Susan Flannigan. Did you receive a phone call from this number earlier today?
Phyllis: Yes, yes, from a Frank Buckles. He talked with my husband.
Susan: I’m Frank’s daughter. Did he promise you anything?
And so began a friendship that has endured to bless our lives.
Frank had a duty to live.