According to the National Journal, Speaker of the House John Boehner has nixed plans for Frank Buckle’s body to lie in state under the Capitol Rotunda to honor and memorialize this last U.S. veteran of World War I who died early last Sunday (Feb 27) at age 110. Mr. Buckles was the last living link with the service and sacrifice of nearly five million American Veterans who served during World War I and helped the U.S. come of age as a world power during the 20th century. They fought for freedom and country, not for money or glory, and returned to a nation that offered little in the way of veterans’ benefits. Is it too much to pay them their due by honoring and memorializing Mr. Buckles at our nation’s Capitol? I know America’s veterans don’t think so and you can let Speaker Boehner know that by emailing him.

The White House ordered the Army to provide Mr. Buckles a burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery (now scheduled for March 15) but the Buckles family points out that the cemetery cannot handle the volume of visitors who want to honor Buckles in person. Veterans organizations, schools, war re-enactors and thousands of others have deluged the Buckles family with requests to attend services for the nation’s last Doughboy and the Capitol Rotunda is the right place for that to happen.

Chris Photo of Chris ScheerScheer is a U.S. Air Force Veteran. He retired from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in December.




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Published on Mar. 6, 2011

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  1. JOHN SAFIE August 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

    May GOD bless all our past Veterans,Everything our children both born and unborn enjoy today we owe to the patriotic acts of our heros past..May their soul rest in perfect peace

  2. CDR Kevin Sudbeck March 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Two things, 1) if you are retired, why are the taxpayers subsidizing your blog? 2) the precedent has been set as the last Union Army Soldier of the Civil war did not lie in state nor is he buried in Arlington. He did receive a funeral with full military honors as directed by the Eisenhower Administration.

    Your blog post appears to be just ignorant and petty politics.

    • Alex Horton March 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Kevin, just wanted to clear up the first part. He submitted the blog on his own time as a retiree. No one is paid for guest blogs.

  3. Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change March 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Arlington has no where near the facilities for people all across the country to come and pay respect as the Rotunda does?

    And would you not expect the same for the last WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq Veteran when the time comes?

    And there is a difference between a public viewing and internment!

    • George March 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

      The Unknowns were put in the Rotunda for public viewing. Does proper military protocal dictate that this should also be done for Mr. Buckles? I don’t know? I have been brought up during my tenure with the military that salutes to the fallen, retirements, laying ashore etc. are usually done in accordance with tradition, customs, and courtesies. Is there an established protocal for viewing the dead in the rotundra or is that custom and courtesy not subject to guidelines?

  4. George March 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Isn’t the integrity of internment at Arlington significant? He served with honor in a war which was costly in human lives and those wounded. He honors us by his service and resting in Arlington with other warfighters who were distinguished in battle. This is a great honor for him and for the memory of him as the last of the WWI veterans. Arlington National Cemetery is a worthy venue for those who served in America’s conflicts; it would be a fitting and respectful event if it took place on that consecrated ground among those veterans who have gone before.

  5. Frank March 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Not sure a government website is the best place for political rants. As for this, according to CNN, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) decided that Arlington National Cemetery was a more appropriate venue. Why no mention of SEN Reid’s email?

  6. Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change March 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    If we can put a Senator who really accomplished nothing in his lifetime but to be from a “royal” family, then we could and should put the last Veteran from an Era long gone (WWI) in the Rotunda!

    As we should do with any last Veteran from any Era!

    I strongly urge all readers to call toll free 1-866-272-6622 and ask for the House Speakers office and let his staff know his blocking this effort is absolutely not acceptable!

  7. Mike Bailey March 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I think to many people are making a “mountaiin out of a molehill” lying in “state” has normally been Presidents, and other “larger than life Americans” Mr Buckles claim to fame is longevity, he outlived all the rest of this nations WW1 veterans and for that matter most of the worlds WW1 veterans. Now some people are attempting to state that this would be for ALL ‘veterans” to honor them, how? We have Veterans Day, we have Memorial Day and the 4th of July that all have a lot of military emphasis, more so now since 9/11 than in previous years.

    My father served in the Army before WW1, he went to Mexico with General Pershing after Pamcho Villa in 1916. My father served in D Troop 7th Calvary along with my Uncle Gideon from 1914-1916, so they had finished their 2 years of Army service before WW1 even started. My step father served in the 8th Army Air Force in England from 1942-1944 he was a crew member on B-17s, he stayed in the Air Force after it became the Air Force and separated from the Army and retired in 1961.

    I enlisted during the Vietnam War and stayed on active duty until 1982, when I left the Army only to join the National Guard to get my years in for retirement benefits. I was called to active duty in November 1990 for Desert Storm and was discharged in May 1991 after our unit was deactivated.

    I am 100% P&T and have been since 2003, I will be buried in one of this nations National Cemetaries, as are many of my family members, going back to the Civil War, there is nothing shameful about having a large ceremony at the ampitheater at Arlington, most veterans do not even get this honor, I am sure that there will even be a high level White House official on hand and others like the Secretary of Defense, probably the Secretary of the Army, I am sure the major veteran service groups will have either their national Presidents there if not their entire leadership teams.

    Is this a major milestone in Mr Buckles life? Yes he lived a long and full life and he has been honored many times while he was still alive, he has been honored by past Presidents, the VA and many other groups that are military affiliated.

    Give him the large funeral and ceremony at Arlington the more people the better, I am sure there will even be news camera’s there to record this for history and the evening news, which is far more than the average veteran recives when he passes away.

    But do not use his passing to suggest that not letting him lay in state in the rotunda is a slap to all veterans and that he represents us all, he doesn’t he was one man, another American who served his nation as millions have before him and during his lifetime. He will be buried with honor at Arlington, I don’t see any disrespect in not allowing him to lay in “state”.

    He is a veteran who just outlived all of his fellow veterans of WW1.

    • Charles Walters March 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Totally agree with everything you stated. Military service is a self-less duty and I am sure that Mr. Buckles would agree with you also.

      Lieutenant Colonel, US Marine Corps-Retired

  8. Jim, SF Retired March 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

    God bless them all. But, as a retired Green Beret, I wouldn’t want to soil myself even in death at that capital. You would follow Ted Kennedy? Think of the stench.

    Give him Arlington and let him RIP. Quit using him as your 2012 election gripe.

    • Christi USAF SF March 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      I agree, Jim. He would not want that. He would want to be with the men he fought with!!!

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