Obama, Biden make surprise appearance to last WWI veteran burial

14:05, March 16, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday made unscheduled appearance to the Arlington National Cemetery for the burial of the country's last living World War I veteran Frank Buckles, who died recently at the age of 110.

Obama and Biden spent about 10 minutes in the Amphitheater Chapel paying their respects. They emerged talking to members of the Buckles family for a few minutes before getting back on the road, according to the White House. Buckles was interred about an hour later.

A former Army Cpl., Buckles was the last known surviving member of the more than 5 million Americans who served during World War I, according to the Pentagon. He died Feb. 22 at his home in West Virginia at age 110.

Buckles was born in Missouri in 1901. He enlisted in the Army in 1917, shortly after the United States declared war on Germany and its allies. He served as an ambulance driver on the Western Front.

Buckles also had a brush with the Second World War. In 1941, Buckles was in the Philippines, working in Manila, when Japan invaded the island nation. The Japanese captured him and confined him at the Los Banos prison with 2,200 other American civilians. U. S. forces liberated the camp in 1945. Obama has ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half staff in Buckles' honor Tuesday.

Two men in Britain are believed to be World War I's last living veterans. Both are 110 years old.

Source: Xinhua

 
 
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