First, today in 1919 the American Legion was founded in Paris by 1,000 veterans of the American Expeditionary Force who met to discuss transition to civilian life and what veterans could do to help each other adjust and to work together to further the rights of veterans.
Now in the near past in 2010 the passing of the United States generation that fought in World War I was marked by the funeral of Frank Buckles, who died on 27 February 2011, aged 110. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Frank Woodruff Buckles (born Wood Buckles, February 1, 1901 – February 27, 2011) was a United States Army soldier and the last surviving American veteran of World War I. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 and served with a detachment from Fort Riley, driving ambulances and motorcycles near the front lines in Europe. During World War II, he was captured by Japanese forces while working in the shipping business and spent three years in the Philippines as a civilian prisoner.
After the war, Buckles married in San Francisco and moved to Gap View Farm near Charles Town, West Virginia. A widower at age 98, he worked on his farm until the age of 105. In his last years, he was Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation. As chairman, he advocated the establishment of a World War I memorial similar to other war memorials in Washington, D.C. Toward this end Buckles campaigned for the District of Columbia War Memorial to be renamed the National World War I Memorial. He testified before Congress in support of this cause and met with President George W. Bush at the White House. Buckles was awarded the World War I Victory Medal at the conclusion of that conflict, and the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal retroactively following the medal’s creation in 1941, as well as the French Legion of Honor in 1999.What a day this was in the past. But now to the future.
We have two efforts to raise funds that come back to the community. The Department of Oklahoma in OKC has Legion 100th Anniversary coins for sale at $15 each. We also have another 10-gun raffle going on at Post 142, for only $10 you can get one of 10 different guns being raffled off. Want a Henry 17 HMR Rifle? Or a Thompson 50 Caliber Bone Collector. How about a Mossberg 935 Turkey Shotgun? There is a Ruger AR 556. There are a few more I will share next week. You know a Legionnaire? Ask them to get you in the raffle!
Next Legion Meeting will be Thursday March 15th at 7:00 PM. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy with always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed (like freezing weather). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.