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WWI Vets

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Heading off to that Great Trench War in the Sky:

The last living man known to have served in the French army during the “war to end all wars” — he was an Italian teenager who joined the Foreign Legion at the outset, and became a French citizen in the 1930’s — died this week at the age of 110. And the man believed to be Germany’s last surviving veteran — no official records are kept there — died in January at 107 (five years after his wife of 75 years, who lived to be 102).

That leaves just about 20 remaining veterans of the war scattered around the world, one-third of whom saw no fighting in it — down from about 27 at the beginning of the year. Not surprisingly, given their triple-digit ages, even fewer are still able to show the flag in public.

Here’s the Wikipedia list of surviving veterans from the Great War. And here’s some interesting material on Frank Buckles, the war’s last surviving American veteran. I watched some of the video and listened to a few audio interview clips, and I have to say the guy looks and sounds pretty good for being 107.

Apparently one of the surviving members of the Vietnam-era Texas Air National Guard met with Buckles the other day. No word on whether the president expressed any envy for Buckles’ service in such a romantic conflict.

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